Enfield dangerous dog patrol scheme extension backed to stop attack 'nightmare'
Enfield’s Citizens Advice service has backed a decision to extend a park patrol scheme to tackle dangerous dogs.
Sonia Kotecha, chief executive of the bureau in Nags Head Road, said the charity had helped victims of dog attack cases in the past year, and believes education is key to lower the risk that “can turn a walk in the park into a nightmare”.
The £38,000 Parkguard scheme was launched by Enfield Council in July last year in reaction to a survey which showed the fear of aggressive dogs as one of the top concerns of people living in the borough.
The scheme’s officers patrol Enfield’s parks and offer advice and training to owners on how to control their pets, as well as dealing with referrals from Enfield Police and the borough’s housing team.
It was renewed for another year last week, after dealing with more than 500 incidents in its first 12 months.
Ms Kotecha said: “We read in the newspapers about some really serious attacks, but it is not only the so-called attack dog breeds that are responsible.
“Even small dogs can do a lot of harm, especially to little children who just aren’t aware of the risk of getting too close to a stranger’s dog.”
A petition – backed by the Enfield Independent – was handed to Prime Minister David Cameron last year, calling for stiffer penalties for owners of banned dogs and swifter justice in attack cases.
Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes has organised a conference on Friday to examine the issue of responsible dog ownership, with speakers including dog behaviour experts, council officers, vets and police.
The event at the conference room in Barnet and Southgate College, in High Street, starts at 7.30pm.