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Lack of socialisation and street dogs from outside UK behind rise in dog offences

PUBLISHED: 12:30 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:56 10 January 2020

Norfolk police have put an increase in the number of dangerous dog offences in the county over the past three years down in part in an influx of street dogs from other countries. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Norfolk police have put an increase in the number of dangerous dog offences in the county over the past three years down in part in an influx of street dogs from other countries. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Police have put an increase in dangerous dog offences down to owners not socialising their pets enough and an "influx of street dogs" from outside the UK.

Since 2017, police have recorded 691 dangerous dog offences across the county, with almost 600 of these related to people in charge of the animals allowing them to be dangerously out of control, in many cases injuring another person or assistance dog.

Between 2017 and 2018 the number of offences increased from 180 to 223, and though police did not have December's figures at the time of asking, 192 were recorded between January and November 2019.

Of the 595 offences recorded over the past three years, less than 10pc of offences ended in a person being charged.

Inspector Sally Hammerton, from Norfolk Constabulary's dog section, said police had seen an increase in dangerous dog offences.

"Some offences are often the result of dog owners who do not socialise their dogs with other dogs, animals or people correctly," she said.

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"We have also seen an influx of street dogs from other countries which haven't been socialised, and a number of these street dogs are involved in dog related incidents.

"Furthermore, the increase in puppy farming and irresponsible breeding means that the puppies being bred have a natural aggression or protective nature causing them to be more aggressive."

Insp Hammerton said while every offence committed was investigated, the outcome depended on a number of factors including the nature of the offence, evidence and the victim's wishes.

"Victims may not want to go through with a prosecution for a number of reasons including not wanting to go to court or they don't want to prosecute the owner because they fear the dog will be put to sleep.

"Sometimes the victims are friends of the dog and owner so do not wish to take further action. It could also be that the dog within the family may have injured another family member," she said.

A Dogs Trust spokesperson said: "Owning a dog is wonderful but dog owners do have a responsibility to ensure their dog is well trained and able to socialise with people and other animals.

"Tackling dog aggression relies on us all knowing how to safely interact with our dogs, and being able to spot the early warning signs that they are in distress before a situation escalates."

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