Canine-law specialist calls for a clampdown on irresponsible dog breeders following Blyth attacks

Dog law specialist Trevor Cooper calls for the closing down of irresponsible dog breeders

A Staffordshire bull terrier attacked 11 children on Wednesday

Friday, May 20, 2016

Canine-law specialist Trevor Cooper has called for a crackdown on breeders to help reduce the risk of dangerous-dog attacks.

His comments come after 11 children were mauled in Blyth, Northumberland, on Wednesday evening, when a Staffordshire bull terrier got in to a children's play area. Nine were subsequently treated in hospital for bite wounds.

A parent eventually restrained the dog before police arrived, and a woman was later arrested on suspicion of having a dog dangerously out of control. 

Cooper insists targetting breeders can help tackle the issue, and lessen the chance of further incidents.

"We need to do far more in respect of breeders. More breeders should be closed down if they're not responsible," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "They need to have regard for the welfare of the dog, and regard to the people they're selling the dogs to."

The consultant for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home claims that the apparent rise in reports of Staffordshire bull terrier attacks may not be because of their natural temperament.

"In their breed standard [an official guideline which describes a dog's characteristics] it does say they are very good with children," he said. "It's very unusual for a breed standard to have that particular temperament referred to.

"[There are] a lot of Staffordshire bull terriers, so perhaps it explains why it does appear as if they're coming up [in attack reports] more often than other dogs."

In May 2014 the maximum sentence for owners of a dog which has attacked someone was increased from two to five years' imprisonment. 

"Convictions are on the rise, but that's partly because it now extends to incidents which occur in the home," Cooper said.