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Merseyside Police and their partners will be carrying out an operation to tackle irresponsible dog ownership.

Officers from Merseyside Police’s dog section, along with neighbourhood officers and partner organisations, will be out and about in Merseyside’s parks and open spaces over the next six weeks. Officers will be meeting dog owners and other park users and talking to them about any concerns.

The operation is in response to concerns voiced by residents and comes following a number of incidents involving dog attacks, both in Merseyside and other areas of the UK. Assistant Chief Constable Ian Pilling will be meet with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Mr Christian Duncan from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Chief Inspector Simon Small from the RSPCA to launch the event.

Officers will be working with the RSPCA, Local Authority Dog Wardens and The Dogs Trust to tackle the issues of irresponsible dog ownership and status-type dogs. There will be an opportunity for dogs to be micro-chipped for free. Neighbourhood officers will be carrying out spot checks in the area and officers from the dog section will be on hand to deal with any dogs thought to be banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act or any breaches of the legislation.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Pilling said: “We are not trying to demonise dogs or their owners, but we are working with our partners to promote responsible dog ownership and to make sure that owners are aware of the impact on the wider community of their dogs actions.

“In most cases dogs become part of an owners family, and we make no excuses for targeting those owners who use their dogs to intimidate others, or allow their dogs to roam the streets causing anti-social behaviour. Owners have to be aware that they may well be held accountable for their actions under the law, and could end up with a criminal record.”

RSPCA chief inspector Simon Small said: “The RSPCA role is very much to promote responsible ownership, which is vital in protecting the welfare of dogs as well as people in the area. “We are working to tackle the problems associated with over breeding and have already microchipped more than 130 dogs, providing a link between them and their owners.”

Christian Duncan, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Alder Hey said: “Here at Alder Hey, we treat huge numbers of dog bite injuries every year; during the summer it’s more than one a day. While the vast majority of these are not life threatening they can still have a devastating impact with many children requiring surgery and most suffering permanent scarring.

These bites are from literally every kind of dog, not just the obvious dangerous dog breeds.

There is no such dog as a safe dog where children are concerned and we therefore urge all dog owners to act responsibly and be aware of the dangers to children.”

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