Renewed calls for tighter controls on Norwich dogs

Norwich City Council has come under renewed pressure to introduce orders which would force dog owners to keep their pets on leads, with one councillor accusing the authority of passing the buck.

Families called for a dog control order to be introduced in the West Pottergate area of Norwich earlier this year after a number of pets were left dead or injured after being attacked by dogs.

The council said at that time it could not justify introducing such an order without a proper evidence base to support it and said it could also unfairly impact on responsible dog owners.

But in the wake of an incident in Goldsmith Street, off Dereham Road, Norwich, where Iain De-Bozie, nine, suffered serious injuries to his right arm after he was attacked by a dog, opposition councillors raised the issue again at a council meeting this week.

Nathan Atkins, 20, of Goldsmith Street, has been charged with failing to control a bulldog in relation to that incident, on Sunday, July 3. The case is due to come before Norwich Magistrates' Court on July 28.

Adrian Holmes, Green city councillor for Mancroft, asked: 'In the light of recent incidents... will the cabinet reconsider looking at dogs on leads control orders for specific areas after local consultation?'

Julie Westmacott, cabinet member for environment and neighbourhoods, said since April, of 423 reports about dogs, just six were about dogs being off leads.

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She said: 'The council has acted in proportion to the reports being received and the evidence does not support a need for dogs on leads control orders at this present moment.

'However, we do encourage residents to report incidents of this nature. We will continue to monitor the situation and if a need does arise, action will be taken. Finally, I would wish to advise the councillor that attacks on animals and children by out of control dogs is a matter for the police.

'Such attacks on children may not be remedied by dogs on leads.

'They [the police] have a duty to deal with dangerous dogs and as such I would encourage everyone to report such incidents to the police.'

But Mr Holmes said: 'I'm a bit disappointed that this is a case of 'not our problem, guv'.

'It's something we should look at with particular residents and not just rely on statistics.

'It is a police matter, but it also something we have got control of through the Dangerous Dogs Act.'

Earlier this month, Norwich South MP Simon Wright raised the issue in a parliamentary debate on dangerous dogs, calling on local authorities and the government to take further action.

Do you think the city council should do more to deal with dogs which are not on leads? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email