Thursday, 2 August 2012

Dangerous dogs seized in Lancaster police raids

Three suspected dangerous dogs have been seized by police in Lancaster.

Officers raided addresses on Harcourt Road, Rutland Avenue and Edenvale Crescent this morning (Thursday) and seized three pit bull type dogs.

Two men, aged 26 and 56, were arrested on suspicion of possessing a fighting dog and are being questioned by police. The 56-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis.

Any dog can be a danger to the public, but there are four types of dogs are illegal in the UK, the most common being a pit-bull type dog. A banned dog can be seized by police even if it isn’t acting in a dangerous manner.

The dogs have been taken to a kennels where they will be examined by a trained dog legislation officer to determine what type they are. If they are not a banned breed of dog then they will be returned to their owners.

If they are banned dogs, officers will investigate the circumstances around the dog and owner. A decision will be made regarding what offences have been committed and whether to prosecute the owner in either criminal or civil courts.

The magistrates will determine whether they deem the dog to be a danger to the public and may decide to issue a destruction order. Alternatively, if they are satisfied that the dog is not a danger to the public they can return the dog, on the provision the owner agrees to comply with stringent conditions and the dog is placed on the government's Index of Exempted Dogs. Conditions include keeping it muzzled and on a lead when in public and having it neutered.

PCSO Amy Knott, Lancaster neighbourhood police team, said: “There has been an issue of people using their dogs almost as a weapon; threatening and intimidating others, or even encouraging the animal to act in an aggressive manner. This is dangerous and we will do what we can to prevent this from happening.

“However, we know that many dog owners also love their pets and train their animals responsibly so that they pose a minimal risk. In these cases there is the opportunity that a banned breed can be returned to their owner if they are prepared to abide by certain conditions that will ensure the safety of the public.”

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