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744 dog attacks in Essex in past three years
6:10am Friday 27th December 2013 in News
MORE than 700 people across Essex have been injured by dangerous dogs in just three years, new figures reveal.
The shocking statistics, obtained by the Echo through a Freedom of Information request to Essex Police, show there have been 744 recorded offences across the county since 2010.
In south Essex alone, 312 people have fallen victim to dog attack, with Basildon ranking the worst of the 14 police districts in the county with 107 reported incidents.
Between 2010 and 2013, 964 people were admitted to Southend Hospital as a result of being attacked by an out of control dog.
Postwoman Shelley Turnidge, of Ambleside Drive, Southend, had to have eight weeks off work after needing 17 stitches when a dog latched on to her arm while she was out delivering letters.
She said: “I cannot believe there have been that many attacks. That’s madness. I think owners should be made to take more responsibility for their pets because it’s not just the attack that is frightening, but it’s the repercussions afterwards.
“It was so scary when the dog just latched on to my arm out of nowhere. I had to have two months off work and now I’m absolutely petrified of dogs so much so I now have a job indoors.”
Owners can face a £5,000 fine or up to six months in jail if their animal injures someone.
Of the 744 incidents, 421 have been resolved with 29 people let off with a caution, 49 people charged, and the remaining offences resolved with a community order or neighbourhood resolution.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “The figures suggest there have been just under 200 offences involving dangerous dogs in each of the past four years, and just over half of these offences are solved – through means such as a charge or a neighbourhood resolution.
“This suggests Essex Police areworking hard, within the existing legal framework, to address concerns around dangerous dogs and to find solutions.
“The issues around controlling dangerous dogs are likely to be similar across the country, so I believe it is right and proper that Parliament leads on attempting to provide the most meaningful and effective framework for reducing the risk of harm.”
The Government is currently in the process of debating the new Antisocial, Behaviour, Crime and Police Bill which aims to tighten the laws around out of control dogs and their owners.
Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris said: “This shows just how much the new legislation in the Antisocial Behaviour Bill is needed. It is in its final stages of becoming law and it can’t come soon enough.”
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