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Police dog attack reports increase by 21%

The number of dog attacks reported to the police in England and Wales have risen by 21% in a year, a BBC investigation shows. 

Freedom of Information requests showed police forces recorded 30,539 offences of a dog injuring a person or guide dog in 2023 – up from 25,291 in 2022. 

The responses show police forces recorded 30,539 offences of an out-of-control dog causing injury to a person or guide dog in 2023 – a 21% increase from the 25,291 recorded in 2022. 

 A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesperson told the BBC: “We believe some of this could be attributed to dogs purchased during lockdown who missed out on key socialisation and have then become too difficult to handle in maturity.” 

Devon and Cornwall Police recorded the largest percentage rise in attacks, up 51% from 662 in 2022 to 1,002 in 2023. 

Surrey Police recorded 38% more attacks over five years, in Sussex cases rose by a third, while in Kent there was a 32% increase. 

In response, a Defra spokesperson told the BBC that it continued to work with police, local authorities and animal welfare groups to encourage responsible dog ownership and ensure dog control issues were addressed. 

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