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Merseyside Police campaign aims to prevent attacks

Merseyside Police has launched a campaign to help reduce incidents of dog bites.

The aim of Taking the Lead is to offer important safety tips to all dog owners in Merseyside about looking after their pet, especially around children, which could prevent serious injuries.

To help with this aim, over the summer holidays Merseyside Police will post a series of videos on social media offering tips and advice on ownership and how to reduce the chances of dog bites, as well as join with partners to speak to people in parks and other public places.

Inspector Katie Wilkinson said: “By running Taking the Lead as the schools break up, Merseyside Police hopes to give children and parents the knowledge and skills to stay safe over the six-week holidays and in the future. This will help to reduce the number of youngsters hurt by dogs and improve their understanding of dogs and their needs, regardless of their breed or size.

“We are determined to reduce the numbers of children and adults in Merseyside being hurt by dogs. It is crucial that we educate youngsters at an early age about how to be around dogs.

“Some of our simple messages includes not bothering dogs when they are eating their dinner or when they are sleeping and not approaching a dog you don’t know. If walking your dog out in your community, always make sure they are on a lead and consider whether they need to be muzzled.”

Another key focus of Taking the Lead is advising people to think before they buy a dog and research the breed characteristics to make sure they can provide that breed of dog with the right home setting.

Inspector Wilkinson added: “We understand there are a lot of dog owners who don’t have the right home for larger breeds of dogs. This is particularly the case for XL Bully type breeds. These dogs are becoming increasingly popular but many owners don’t have a suitable home due to their size and they don’t provide the dogs with the right exercise and training.

“I must stress that we are not trying to demonise any particular breed of dog 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 dog’s actions. Owners should remember that every dog, not matter how well trained, has the potential to bite.”

The Taking the Lead campaign is being supported by Merseyside Dog Safety Partnership, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Blue Cross, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, University of Liverpool, Royal Mail, the Communication Worker Union, and local councils.

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