Call for action on dangerous dogs

People are seeking a clampdown on dog owners who let their pets roam off the lead following attacks by Staffordshire bull terriers.

Dozens of people joined a protest walk yesterday to highlight the number of pets killed as a result of dog owners not keeping their animals under control.

The march went from Paragon Place to Douro Place, near Dereham Road, where pets, including a kitten and two dogs, have been killed by Staffys.

The protest was organised by residents after a petition was signed by 400 people urging the council to make pet-owners keep their dogs on leads by installing signs throughout Douro Place.

John Williams, 36, of Douro Place, helped organise the petition for his neighbour whose dog was killed by a Staffy.

'We have had dog attacks and injured pets. What we do not want is it happening to children next,' he said.

'We want owners to be more responsible with their dogs. Some Staffy owners just seem to have them as a fashion statement.

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'When these people are asked if they wouldn't mind putting their dogs on the lead they give out abuse, and sometimes they encourage their dogs to chase cats.'

The protest walk comes only weeks after a cat was beaten death by a man in Douro Place in what the RSPCA described as one of the worst cases of animal cruelty they had ever seen.

Patricia McAndrews, a retired social worker, saw her dog killed by a Staffordshire bull terrier in September.

Elsewhere in the city, Wendy Green, of Beverley Road on the North Earlham estate, had to bury her dog when it was killed by a Staffy on the Bowthorpe School Site Community Park.

Councillor Victoria MacDonald of Lakenham ward is working to get special measures put in place to deter irresponsible dog owners.

She said: 'I have asked officers at City Hall to look at how we can tackle irresponsible dog owners and dog fouling in the city.

'We cannot employ 20 new dog wardens because of the cuts, but we can look to see what we can do with the staff we already have.'

Meanwhile, Mrs McAndrews said she would be happy if the council managed to put up signs telling people to keep their dogs on leads.

She said: 'For me, it is all about protecting the children. I don't want children being chased by dogs or stepping in dog mess.'

Are you holding a protest? Contact reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772 439 or email