DANGEROUS dog attacks remain a problem throughout the area with more than 500 incidents recorded over the last three years.

Figures from Lancashire Police show in 2017 171 dangerous dog attacks were reported to police in East Lancashire, with 65 incidents occurring in Blackburn with Darwen, the highest in the area.

This is a drop from the 208 incidents which took place in 2016, but just 158 took place in 2015.

Blackburn with Darwen also recorded the most incidents in those years with 69 and 54 respectively.

The figures, which came from a Freedom of Information request, include crimes recorded which involved an assault with injury to either a person or a dog, where the person in charge allowed a dog to be 'dangerously out of control in any place'.

In 2017 a total of 38 per cent of attacks resulted in dogs being seized, while 30 dogs were destroyed by police due to the crimes, which is around 18 per cent of dogs involved in recorded incidents.

This means last year 46 per cent of dogs seized by officers in East Lancashire were ultimately destroyed, down from 55 per cent the previous year.

However the number of dangerous dog seized by the police and the number destroyed by police both dropped to their lowest levels of the past three years in 2017.

Across East Lancashire 65 were seized in 2017, compared to 78 in 2016 and 69 in 2015.

Meanwhile 30 dogs were destroyed in 2017, down from 43 in 2016 and 32 in 2015.

The number of dogs destroyed in Blackburn with Darwen dropped by more than half in 2017, from 21 to nine,while the number of dogs seized dropped from 29 to 17.

Meanwhile in the borough in 2015 there were 34 dangerous dogs seized, which resulted in 19 being destroyed.

Elsewhere last year of the 171 attacks recorded by police 29 took place in Burnley, 25 in Rossendale and 22 in Pendle.

Meanwhile 19 took place in Hyndburn, and just 11 in the Ribble Valley.

This marked a decrease in all boroughs from 2016.

In 2017 11 dogs were seized in Pendle, 10 in Burnley, nine in Hyndburn and three in Rossendale.

This resulted in seven being destroyed in Pendle, eight in Burnley and six in Hyndburn.

In Burnley in 2016 17 dog seizures resulted in 10 being destroyed, compared to eight seizures and six destroyed in Hyndburn, and 12 seized and five destroyed in Pendle.

In The Ribble Valley no dogs have been seized as a result of crime in the past three years.

RSPCA bosses said they understand that there needs to be legislation which enables to police to deal with dogs who do genuinely pose a risk to public safety.

A spokesman said:"The RSPCA encourages responsible dog ownership and this includes ensuring pets remain under their owner's control when out and about in public.

"We'd urge anyone with concerns about their dog's behaviour to speak to their vet who may refer them to a clinical animal behaviourist.

"For more information about aggression in dogs, please see the RSPCA website: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/behaviour/aggression."

A police spokesman said: "All dogs should be in the charge of people capable of handling them.

"For large, powerful dogs, whether or not they are listed as dangerous, this should always be an adult.

"It is illegal to allow any dog to be out of control in a public place.

"We put the safety of the public first, and have the right to seize any dog that we believe is a threat to the owner, their family or anyone else."