Dozens of people charged with having dogs that are ‘dangerously out of control’ in Hartlepool according to new figures
Hartlepool has seen dozens of people charged with having ‘dangerously out of control’ dogs since 2015, new figures have revealed.
Figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 showed from 2015 to the end of February 2019, Cleveland Police had recorded 241 offences of people allowing dogs to be dangerously out of control.
Just 38 of the incidents occurred in Hartlepool, with it increasing year on year to 15 in 2018.
There were three incidents in 2015, seven in 2016 and nine in 2017.
Meanwhile there has been four incidents in Hartlepool so far in 2019 up to the end of February.
Redcar and Cleveland saw the highest number of incidents to date with 77, although the number dropped from 28 in 2017 to 20 in 2018, with six so far in 2019.
In Middlesbrough there had been 67 incidents of dogs being out of control over the period, peaking at 22 in 2016, before dropping to 12 in 2017 and rising again to 20 in 2018, with just one so far this year.
In Stockton there has been a total of 59 incidents, with 9 in 2015, 7 in 2016, 11 in 2017 and 25 in 2018, although the area has seen the highest number of incidents so far in 2019, with 7.
Overall across the Cleveland Police area incidents have risen each year with 32 in 2015, 51 in 2016, 60 in 2017, and 80 in 2018, with 18 recorded so far over the first two months of 2019.
Cleveland Police said it is more important than ever dog owners look after their pets, with more animals around than ever before.
A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “Under Dangerous Dogs Act legislation, a person involved in a dog attack must be injured or in reasonable fear of being injured for any prosecution to be considered.
“There are no offences under this legislation for dogs that attack other dogs, where no one is injured or in fear of being injured.
“Where a breed is prohibited, there are offences that can be considered. Similarly where there is a dog out of control, both public and private property are now included in this offence.
“Local authorities can also prosecute if a dog is dangerously out of control.
“Where dogs attack other dogs, ordinarily if no one is injured or has reasonable fear of being injured, there is no criminal legislation which allows police to prosecute.
“Where there are dogs that cause a persistent issue in our communities, officers are able to use civil legislation to apply to the court for control orders.
“These control orders allow police or the local authority to put measures in place to protect the public.
“With the population of dogs now higher than ever before, it is all the more important for dog owners to keep their dogs under control and to look after them responsibly.”
Separate statistics from the Dog Section within Cleveland Police revealed that in 2017/18 19 dogs were seized over crimes, which dropped by one to 18 in 2018/19.
The figures also showed that seven dogs were put to sleep by police in 2017/18 due to incidents, which rose by one to eight in 2018/19.
Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service