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City Hall calls for tougher laws to tackle dogs of war'

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:13 05 October 2010

TOUGH action has been called for to tackle the growing proliferation of aggressive weapon dogs on the capital's streets.

Deputy London Mayor Kit Malthouse wants legislation to deal with rising numbers of dogs of war' being used by gangs

By Mike Brooke

TOUGH action has been called for to tackle the growing proliferation of aggressive weapon dogs on the capital's streets.

The call from City Hall comes on the day the BBC is broadcasting a report tonight on an investigation into a wave of dog fighting organised by gangs in London using outlawed breeds in serious crime.

Deputy London Mayor Kit Malthouse, responsible for policing matters, who hosted a City Hall summit with the Met Police, the RSPCA and local authority representatives, wants legislation to deal with rising numbers of 'dogs of war' being used by gangs.

"I'm calling today for urgent action because we need to punish owners for use of dogs as weapons,

said Kit Malthouse. "This new weapon of intimidation is terrorising the streets of London.

"Using a 'weapon' dogs is no different to using a gun or a knife to attack, maim and even kill. At the top of the list are bull breeds, developed for one purpose, to attack and fight."

The number of Pit Bull dogs seized by police shot up by 65 per cent in the last year, according to latest figures, following the number of court cases involving dangerous dog offences rising by 50 per cent between 2006 and 2007. Hospitals across London have seen admissions for dog attacks increase by 79 per cent in the last five years, compared to 43 per cent nationally.

The Head of the Met's Status Dogs unit, Sgt Ian McParland, said: "Criminals are deliberately misusing dogs to threaten, intimidate and commit crime. We have seized 680 dogs from the streets suspected of being illegal, dangerous or both."

Evidence collected from the Met Police and animal welfare groups show these dogs are increasingly being used in serious crime and as weapons for intimidation among gang members.

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