The Dangerous Dog Amnesty - Criminals Pass On Their Punishment To Dogs
Merseyside's top police officer Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe has called for the government to temporarily relax certain laws so that his force can rid the streets of 'dangerous dogs'.
His appeal has been backed by council leaders. The amnesty would allow owners of illegal breeds to effectively dump their dogs with impunity from prosecution.
A similar scheme is operation in Ballymena in Northern Ireland, which has been widely criticised by many groups, including the Kennel Club. The scheme for Merseyside is currently awaiting approval from Home Secretary John Reid.
Mr Hogan-Howe told local press "This horrific attack on a young girl has shocked everyone across the nation. Even a strong adult would have struggled to deal with this animal, let alone a small child.
"We need to do all we possibly can to prevent this from happening again.
"I am calling for an amnesty of dangerous dogs, together with our five councils and the RSPCA, in a bid to make our streets safer from the menace of these animals.
"This problem is not confined to Merseyside. But the events of New Year's Day highlighted the potential danger on our streets and homes.
"All of us, including dog owners, must act responsibly. Our amnesty aims to protect communities from further incidents."
Media reports, especially in the Merseyside area, where the New Year's Day tragedy occurred, are apparently in support of the proposal, which will see dog owners who have broken the law by importing banned breeds, escape prosecution while the dogs will be destroyed. No proof is of a dog actually acting dangerously is needed for police to seize the dogs. Effectively criminals are passing on their punishment to their pets.
The dog that attacked Ellie Lawrenson was yesterday being tested for drugs. It is believed that many dogs bred and trained for fighting are given performance enhancing drugs.