Special courts to speed up destruction orders for dangerous dogs could be set up in London.
Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse is lobbying ministers over courts that would force dogs to be destroyed within 72 hours of being seized. The move comes after two schoolgirls were savaged by a “weapon dog” during a PE session in a south London park.
The children aged 12 and 13 were rushed to hospital after being bitten on the leg by the crazed animal in South Norwood Recreation ground. It is the latest in a string of London attacks.
Metropolitan Police Authority chairman Mr Malthouse said: “We need to speed up the disposal of these unfortunate animals, it not only costs a fortune to keep them but it is not fair on the animals. If we do release them they do not come out as nicer animals.”
He said specialist courts could process destruction orders for animals within 72 hours. The call for special courts comes after one leading police authority member urged police to destroy dangerous dogs rather than pay the £10 million cost of keeping them in kennels.
Toby Harris, a former chairman of the MPA, demanded to know why dangerous dogs are being kept alive instead of destroyed immediately. The Labour peer suggested that CO19 officers could shoot some animals if necessary, as they do when out-of-control dogs pose an immediate danger.
He said: “Why do we kennel these animals in the first place? Why don’t we just put them down?
“We seem to be spending an enormous sum of money on keeping weapons for other people. Why do we keep on doing that? Why don’t we kill them when they are seized?
“What would the cost of that be? I am not flippant, I am absolutely serious.”
A record 1,146 dogs, many of which are pitbull terriers and other banned breeds, were seized in London last year and police are struggling to meet the cost of keeping them.
My grandmother hasn’t left house since attack’
The granddaughter of a woman scarred in an attack by a terrier backed calls today for Scotland Yard to destroy thousands of dangerous dogs and introduce courts to deal with the problem.
Margaret White, of Sidcup, nearly lost an ear and had to have more than 100 stitches after the vicious attack in February. She was visiting a sick friend in Chislehurst, when she was attacked by the Staffordshire bull terrier.
Her granddaughter Suzanne Page, 25, a secretary, today told how Mrs White has been unable to leave the house since the mauling and now needs 24-hour care. She said her grandmother had endured two operations and that dangerous dog owners needed educating.
She said: “I firmly believe that any dog that is dangerous or is an illegal breed, should be humanely put to sleep. It is sad that so much money that could be used for much better causes is being put into caring for these dogs. It is also bad for these dogs to be left for years.”