A crack down on danger dogs is to be held by the Government.

The action comes after the T&A presented a dossier of our Curb the Danger Dogs Campaign, containing a petition of thousands of names, to Environment Secretary Hilary Benn.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Rooker has revealed police chiefs have now been told to enforce legislation to protect people from dog attacks more effectively.

New guidance for police and local authorities is also being prepared and local projects to offer advice and free neutering to owners of dogs which pose a risk to society are being set up.

Mr Rooker said a review of the legislation had also taken place following dog attacks on children early last year. Chief police officers were consulted and discussions took place with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

He said they would work closely with ACPO in helping to implement the new initiatives.

Mr Rooker said Defra was revising its guidance to police, local authorities and the public about the law on dangerous and unruly dogs.

He said local projects involving welfare groups, with the support of police and the local authority, to meet people with dogs that may pose a risk and offer advice, were being set up.

The Minister said: "Where no other route is possible, enforcement action is being taken. I see these projects as an important step forward in dealing with the problem of dangerous dogs. I believe that this approach, rather than a return to dog registration, is the most effective way forward."

The T&A campaign had called for a tightening up of loopholes in the law but Mr Rooker said it was believed existing legislation was adequate - if enforced rigorously.

He said: "Having carefully considered what the police said to us, our view is that it is important that the existing law is more rigorously enforced rather than introducing new legislation."

Mr Rooker added: "A wide variety of legislation is already in place to help control dogs and protect the public. To enact further regulations would only be repetitive and confusing to both the public and the officials that enforce the regulations.

"We look forward to receiving the results of the current consultation and developing new guidance for the effective control of dogs."

Neither West Yorkshire Police, nor Bradford Council, were yesterday able to give details of any new projects or initiatives.

But a police spokesman said: "We take the issue of dangerous dogs on the streets of West Yorkshire very seriously. Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams regularly patrol with our partners at the dog warden service to provide public reassurance and a visible presence, as well as giving the public the opportunity and confidence to approach officers and provide them with information that can then be acted upon.

"We also carry out proactive operations to seize suspected dangerous dogs and work with our partners in the council and other agencies to take appropriate action against both dog and owner, if and when a breed is confirmed as one of those banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act."

Acting Chief Inspector Paul Hepworth, of Airedale and North Bradford Police, added: "The officers and dog warden will carry out joint visits to any properties of concern and will offer advice, guidance and, where necessary, will enforce the legislation. Anyone with any concerns about dangerous dogs should contact their local NPT or the dog warden service."

John Major, the Council's assistant director of environmental health, said: "The Council deals with stray dogs and dog fouling, dangerous dogs are the responsibility of the police. We are happy to assist them when we can."

Mr Rooker said the Dangerous Dogs Act was not the only legislation governing dogs. The Town Police Clauses Act 1847 made it an offence to allow an unmuzzled ferocious dog to be off a lead in a street, park or open space or to allow a dog to attack or menace any person or animal.

He said the Animals Act 1971 made the keeper of an animal liable for any damage it causes if they knew it was likely to cause damage or injury unrestrained.

The Dogs Act 1871 allows magistrates to order the destruction of dangerous dogs or impose alternative controls on them. Under the Act any person can make a complaint to a magistrates court that a dog is dangerous or report the matter to police.

He said the Government had no plans to reintroduce a dog licence. He said the minority of irresponsible owners would be most likely to try to evade any licensing or microchipping scheme. He said Defra supported voluntary identification where owners undertook to have their pets permanently identified and registered on nationwide databases.

Mr Rooker added: "As a large section of British dogowners already choose to microchip their pets, it would be virtually impossible for every veterinary practice, police station or animal shelter to be stocked with all the microchip readers they would need."

He said the current law provided for lifetime bans for anyone convicted of owning a dangerous dog.

The Minister said, with regard to stray dogs, the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 had powers to make Dog Control Orders. Owners can be fined or given Fixed Penalty Notices for such offences.

He added: "It is at the discretion and the responsibility of the local authority to establish and enforce these control orders, which is why effective guidance for local authorities is crucial in enforcing already existent powers to control dogs in public places."