Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Former militarty dog handler calls for intense training for dog owners
8:20am Thursday 14th June 2012 in News
A FORMER military dog handler has called for intense training courses for owners after a spate of dog attacks.
Keith Dukeson, who served with the RAF for more than 20 years, spoke out after the Echo’s coverage of a series of alarming dog attacks on other dogs in recent weeks.
He said: “I think they should bring in a compulsory responsible dog owners’ course before people get a dog. Owners would then get a licence after it is completed.
“I also think all dogs should be microchipped. It all sounds a bit nanny state, but it’s ths sort of thing that might prevent kiddies being bitten.”
Mr Dukeson also feels there needs to be better enforcement of dog control orders introduced by Southend Council.
These say dogs must be kept on a lead in pedestrian areas, roads, formal gardens, cemeteries, churchyards, bowling greens and car parks. Anyone who contravenes such an order should be given an £80 fine.
There are also issues with the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 as it means police often do not record dog attacks on other dogs as a crime.
It requires a dog to be “dangerously out of control”, making a human fear for their safety, to be classed as an offence.
Mr Dukeson, 53, a professional dog trainer in Southend, said: “There needs to be a meeting between the police and the local authority, so the bobbies out on the beat have got a format they can work to.”
Insp Matt Bennett, of Southend police, explained there were restraints in the law with dog attacks on other dogs.
He said: “If the person is in fear of attack, then the offence is complete. That fear has to be reasonable.”
The only other option for the police is to arrest the dog owner for criminal damage – but they must prove they either intended the attack to happen or were reckless.
Police have also launched a DogWatch scheme to help encourage responsible dog ownership, as a preventative measure.
However, Val Howells, Southend Council’s animal warden, stressed that dog attacks were a matter for the police.
She insisted: “Any incident involving a dog which is dangerously out of control in a public place is covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and is a matter for the police.”
A ROTTWEILER that attacked pets in Hockley is now in the hands of police.
The animal was taken into Rayleigh police station as a stray after an appeal in the Echo.
We had reported how a toddler had watched in horror as his gran’s beloved pet was killed by the dog.
It happened in Buckingham Road, Hockley, as Cherry, a 12-year-old Jack Russell-Chihuahua cross, was being walked on June 2.
She was taken to the vet for £1,600 of emergency treatment, but then had to be put down.
Police say they are trying to trace the last owner of the rottweiler as part of their investigation.
A SPATE of vicious dog attacks has hit south Essex in recent weeks.
Last week we reported a Staffordshire bull terrier had been roaming the cliffs at Leigh.
It attacked Teddy, an 11-year-old Bichon Frise, on Tuesday, before two men had to kick it away.
Another attack was reported to police just yards away from Barons Court Primary School, Westcliff, the next day.
A German shepherd was attacked by another Staffordshire bull terrier in Park Crescent, Westcliff.
This happened days after a rottweiler ripped apart a Jack Russell-chihuahua cross in Buckingham Road, Hockley.
The same dog had attacked two-and-a-half weeks earlier in the same area.