DOG owners have been warned they will face large fines if their pet attacks other animals.

The number of complaints about dog-on-dog attacks in the Ribble Valley has risen with eight in the last three months alone.

Dog walkers can already face an unlimited fine and up to six months in prison if their pet attacks a person.

However owners will now be taken to court if their dog attacks another animal.

In the case of a guide dog being attacked, the prison sentence could reach up to three years.

Ribble Valley Council can also issue a community protection notice ordering the dog to be muzzled, kept on a lead or neutered.

Heather Barton, head of environmental health, said: “Dogs do scuffle on occasions, but sometimes matters escalate into a serious attack, leaving animals distressed or injured.

“You should remain diligent when walking your pet in public by keeping an eye on how it interacts with other dogs and watching for signs of aggressive behaviour, such as snarling, growling, baring teeth and lunging. The best way to avoid confrontation is to ensure your dog is kept under control.

“We are receiving an increasing number of complaints about dog-on-dog attacks and will not hesitate to take action.”

A council spokesman added: “If you or your dog is attacked by another dog, once you are safe, note the dog’s colour, size, breed, markings and collar colour, and take a photo if it is safe to do so, then report the attack to the council on 01200 425111.”