6:00am Friday 12th April 2013
By Amanda Alcock
A CAMPAIGN has been launched calling for tougher laws for “irresponsible” owners of dangerous dogs following the death of Jade Anderson.
The 14-year-old was savaged to death by four dogs — believed to be two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers — when she was alone at a friend's house in Chaucer Grove, Atherton, on March 26.
Her family launched a petition for a change in the law after police said they were unlikely to prosecute anybody over the attack.
Government plans were announced earlier this week, which could see people facing a two-year jail sentence if their animals were found to be “dangerously out of control” in their own or other people’s homes.
Existing laws only cover attacks in public places and prohibited areas. But Bolton West MP Julie Hilling, after speaking to Jade’s family, is urging residents to sign a petition calling for wider-ranging powers against irresponsible owners.
She said: “We need measures to tackle the issue of irresponsible owners before another incident takes place.”
Ms Hilling is now working with Jade’s parents in the campaign for the introduction of Dog Control Notices as well as toughening up the use of existing powers of Dog Control Orders. These would include measures such as muzzling, keeping dogs on a lead, keeping them away from children and limiting the number of dogs in a household.
Ms Hilling also says in her petition that there should be compulsory micro-chipping of all dogs as well as training for animals and their owners.
The petition calls for legislation to cover attacks both on people and other animals on private and public property. She said: “The statistics speak for themselves: seven children and two adults have been killed by dogs since 2006, more than 6,000 people are admitted to hospital each year because of dog attacks.”
Ms Hilling has been campaigning for tougher laws since her election in 2010, mentioning several local examples in the House of Commons.
The petition can be viewed on her website juliehilling.org.uk and at shops in Hag Fold and Atherton.
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