DOG-lovers in Huddersfield are forming a pressure group to demand action against dangerous dogs.
Organisers are to start a petition calling for greater control of dogs in public places and to enlist the support of councillors and the police.
Among the supporters are Kirklees dog wardens, workers at animal rescue centres, grooming salon proprietors and pet owners.
The group is being set up following a number of high-profile attacks by dogs, including the vicious killing of a young spaniel in Greenhead Park on Saturday, March 25 by a Pit Bull/Staffordshire cross.
Days after that incident, police confirmed they had seized four suspected banned dogs from houses in Rawthorpe and Dalton.
Organiser Carol Taft, of Berry Greave, Marsden, said: “This problem is getting totally out of hand and nobody seems to be doing anything about it.
“These dangerous dogs should be on a lead and muzzled, they should not be running loose in public places.
“Some children have been very badly hurt by these dogs. It seems there is another attack in Britain almost every week.
Carole, 62, also worries about the safety of her own Yorkshire Terrier and cats.
She said: “It is everybody’s right to go about without any fear of attack. We want to get our streets and parks back to being safe places. We have the right to access public places without fear.”
She added that the worst offenders were Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Terriers and Akitas, Japanese fighting dogs which look similar to huskies.
She said that these dogs, some of which have been bred for fighting, are all “on a short fuse.” Although the Staffy is usually good with children, it can be aggressive towards other dogs.
The group plans to galvanise support throughout Huddersfield and its villages by starting a petition calling for more stringent laws and penalties for owners of dangerous dogs.
They intend to canvas the support of local councillors and the police as well as raising public awareness of the exact appearance of dangerous breeds of dogs. Some Pit Bull owners have tried to pass off their dogs as Irish Staffordshire bull terriers.
Carole added: “We want to get as many people as possible involved. There are a certain group of people who think it is really good to own a dangerous dog.
“The dog wardens are very keen to get something organised with the public behind them. Their hands are tied unless people complain.
“Some people who have been affected are too afraid to come forward because of fear of retaliation.”
She said that an elderly couple’s dog was savaged on Heckmondwike Greenway and the owners of the attacker ran away laughing. The old couple were too afraid to report the incident to police.
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 prohibits four types of dog – the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Toser, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.
Most banned dogs in this country tend to be of the Pit Bull type.