Calls for dog control after pet is savaged in Wirral park

Fifteen-year-old Adele Whitaker with Stich, the Jack Russell savaged in the park

Fifteen-year-old Adele Whitaker with Stich, the Jack Russell savaged in the park

First published in News by , Geoff Barnes

NEW bye-laws over the control of dogs could be introduced in Birkenhead Park after a lurcher savaged a Jack Russell terrier so severely that its owner was landed with a £4,600 vet's bill.

Self-employed builder Leslie Whitaker was exercising eight-year-old Stitch and her sister Jack Russell Tasha in the park when the lurcher struck.

Emergency surgery had to be carried out involving reconstruction of the dog’s rib cage.

Stitch is recovering slowly but Mr Whitaker fears she could be in a state of trauma for months.

He said: "You go to stroke her and as soon as you go near her she starts screaming. She is my daughter Adele’s dog and she is just one of us.

"I paid the vet’s bill because how do you explain to a child that her pet has to be put down?"

Claughton councillor George Davies was so appalled by the incident that he plans to pursue the making of special bye-laws on dog controls through Birkenhead Park Management Board and the local authority. A new law would ban dogs from being led off the leash in the park.

He said: "This is not just a one-off. It is the latest in a series of vicious dog attacks.

"Lurchers are bred for hunting and to them anything small like a Jack Russell they see as prey like a rabbit or squirrel. In this particular incident Mr Whitaker and the lurcher owner couldn’t get the dog to drop the terrier.

"It only let go when a park worker rammed his litter picker into the lurcher."

Cllr Davies plans to raise the bye-law issue initially at the July 30 meeting of Birkenhead Park Management Board, of which he is chairman.

He said: "A lot of dog owners may claim their dogs are perfectly harmless off a leash. But how would we feel if it was a child that was attacked next time and we had done nothing about it?"

He intends to prepare a report on the issue for councillors on the local authority regeneration scrutiny committee to study.

The final step would be for the council cabinet and full council to support the introduction of new bye laws.

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: "As the dog who attacked the other dog was not a banned breed not criminal offences under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act have been committed.

"However enquiries are continuing to establish if an offence of allowing any breed of dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place (Section 3 of the DDA) has been committed."

Mr Whitaker said: "This dog is a danger to the public and the owner has no control over it.

"A week after the incident I filmed this guy letting it off the leash in a play area without a muzzle.

"He encourages it to chase squirrels; it thinks the children’s play area is its killing zone.

"I couldn’t live with myself if it attacked a child and I had failed to do anything about it. I am so angry about this. It needs sorting out once and for all."

Comments (4)

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11:52am Wed 23 Jul 14

rover600 says...

Time after time we hear of dogs biting someone or something, this is the second incident on Merseyside this week. Can a byelaw not be passed that says dogs in public places must be muzzled?

I understand dogs need exercise, I recognise its unreasonable to ban them from public parks and its unreasonable to keep them on leads.

I'd hope in this instance a) the dog makes a full recovery and b) as the owner was recognised that their details are known and therefore Mr Whiteaker could look to recover the costs incurred from the owner via the courts or the owners insurers.
Time after time we hear of dogs biting someone or something, this is the second incident on Merseyside this week. Can a byelaw not be passed that says dogs in public places must be muzzled? I understand dogs need exercise, I recognise its unreasonable to ban them from public parks and its unreasonable to keep them on leads. I'd hope in this instance a) the dog makes a full recovery and b) as the owner was recognised that their details are known and therefore Mr Whiteaker could look to recover the costs incurred from the owner via the courts or the owners insurers. rover600
  • Score: 4

11:56am Wed 23 Jul 14

JohnON says...

Why just Birkenhead Park?

I am getting tired of watching my cat (and a neighbour's) running for their lives after dog owners lose control of their off-lead dogs allowing them to chase up our open-plan driveways after our pets.

Apparently, it is too much to ask dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead for an additional 30 yards until they're clear of the residential properties and to put them back on the lead 30 yards earlier.

To me, it shows complete ignorance on the dog owners' part to ensure their own pet is safe from traffic on the busy roads but have no apparent thought for other peoples' pets on the quiet side roads.
Why just Birkenhead Park? I am getting tired of watching my cat (and a neighbour's) running for their lives after dog owners lose control of their off-lead dogs allowing them to chase up our open-plan driveways after our pets. Apparently, it is too much to ask dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead for an additional 30 yards until they're clear of the residential properties and to put them back on the lead 30 yards earlier. To me, it shows complete ignorance on the dog owners' part to ensure their own pet is safe from traffic on the busy roads but have no apparent thought for other peoples' pets on the quiet side roads. JohnON
  • Score: 8

2:53am Thu 24 Jul 14

Thepleb says...

Well in Gorgeous George after sitting on the cabinet for ever you have proceeded to disband the dog fouling officers now down to two from twelve and also the community patrol service down from at one point 32 to now 13, who is going to enforce this bylaw could it be Birkenhead park security cut from four to one or perhaps Georgie boy is going to don a uniform and do a few shifts supporting the council staff rather than shredding them just like that poor dog...Well in George king of the bandwagon.
Well in Gorgeous George after sitting on the cabinet for ever you have proceeded to disband the dog fouling officers now down to two from twelve and also the community patrol service down from at one point 32 to now 13, who is going to enforce this bylaw could it be Birkenhead park security cut from four to one or perhaps Georgie boy is going to don a uniform and do a few shifts supporting the council staff rather than shredding them just like that poor dog...Well in George king of the bandwagon. Thepleb
  • Score: 0

2:51pm Thu 24 Jul 14

littlestar84 says...

the police know who the lurcher's owner is and his address, he CAN be prosecuted under the Dangerous Dogs Act for being out of control in a public space, causing distress to others and attacking a pet dog. For some reason they are only interested in 'banned breeds' not actual dangerous dogs. It is well-known in Birkenhead Park who these owners are, there are several. Why should my well behaved dogs be punished?
the police know who the lurcher's owner is and his address, he CAN be prosecuted under the Dangerous Dogs Act for being out of control in a public space, causing distress to others and attacking a pet dog. For some reason they are only interested in 'banned breeds' not actual dangerous dogs. It is well-known in Birkenhead Park who these owners are, there are several. Why should my well behaved dogs be punished? littlestar84
  • Score: 5

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