Dogs Debate: the Police perspective

In our third article about whether dogs should be banned from our parks, we asked the Inner South Neighbourhood Policing Team about dog ownership.

west york policeWhat is the law concerning dog owners having their dog on a lead in a park?

There is no set legislation in relation to having a dog on a lead in a park. With recent changes to anti-social behaviour legislation, public spaces protection orders will take precedence in places such as parks. These can include restrictions around dogs, such as keeping them on a lead. You can get further information here:

How are the Police promoting responsible dog ownership? What is the Dog Watch scheme?

The Dog Watch scheme was launched by neighbourhood policing officers in Pudsey in 2011 but has since been rolled out to other parts of the district. The scheme is mainly about creating a network of members of the public who walk their dogs acting as ‘eyes and ears’ passing on any information about anything suspicious they see that could assist us in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. The scheme also helps to promote responsible dog ownership and there have been a number of community events run under the scheme at local parks that include free dog chipping and other activities.

What should someone do if they are attacked by a dog in a public place?

They should make sure they report it to the police. Every situation is different so it’s not really feasible to give any practical advice other than to get to safety.

Does it make a difference if you are attacked by a dog whilst it’s on a lead?

No a dog can still be dangerously out of control whilst on a lead.

Insp Chris Bowen
Insp Chris Bowen

Inspector Chris Bowen, who heads the Inner South Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:

“A high proportion of people bitten by dogs are bitten in a domestic situation, often in the home involving family dogs or dogs they know.

“Incidents where a person is bitten by an aggressive, unknown dog – if they are reported to the police – are dealt with robustly and can result in owners appearing in court.

“The issue of dangerous dogs still exists, and legislation has recently been revised to allow us to deal with incidents that occur on private property.

“It is important to recognise that the number of incidents where someone is bitten by an unknown dog in public are very low and that most dog owners are responsible and care for their pets in a safe and lawful manner.”