DOG owners who think their pets may be potentially ‘dangerous’ are being encouraged to attend a police ‘surgery’.
Specialist dog handlers will be on hand to help identify the breed and decide if further action is needed.
The purpose of the event at Greenbank Station, in Blackburn, on Wednesday from noon to 8pm is to educate people about the recent changes in dog legislation and to provide help and advice to dog owners who have questions or concerns about the breed of their dog.
The move comes after a series of high profile dog attacks in East Lancashire, including the attack that led to the death of 11-month-old baby Ava-Jayne Corless in Blackburn.
Insp Mark Baines said: “We know there are dogs out there that pose a risk to the community and even to their owners.
“Any dog breed has the potential to be dangerous, especially around very small children.
“Sadly, this is evident by the number of dog bite incidents that get reported both to us and other forces on a regular basis, some with tragic consequences.
“We understand that it may be a very difficult decision for pet owners to come forward but we would urge anybody that owns a dog and has any concerns about its breed to bring it along in order to comply with the legislation.
“Even if a dog is found to be a banned breed, we can guide owners through the court process. It may still be possible for dog owners to keep their pet, subject to certain restrictions.
“Destruction of any animal will be an absolute last resort, there are ways we can help them keep their pet safely.”
Officers said they hoped that dog owners from across Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale will attend the surgery and help them to build up a picture about potentially dangerous dogs in their area.
Four types of dog are prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act: they are pit bull terriers, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Brasileiro.
A dog owner faces up to 14 years imprisonment if a person dies as a result of a dog attack, five if somebody is injured in a dog attack and three if an assistance dog is either killed or injured.
To book an appointment for the surgery, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.