Pitbulls could face leash by-law in Liverpool's parks

Image caption, John Paul was savaged by the family pet last year

Owners of pitbull-type dogs will have to keep their animals on a lead at all times in Liverpool's parks if a councillor's proposal is approved.

Ron Gould, who represents Mossley Hill, said many residents have been attacked and intimidated and are now "scared" to visit local beauty spots.

The Liberal Democrat will table the motion on 10 November and said he had the backing of his party locally.

The Dog's Trust said the new rules could "demonise" some dogs.

Mr Gould said: "It is a fear thing. It is difficult to tell exactly what kind of breed a dog is, but many feel scared of pets that look like pitbulls."

Savaged to death

He said figures from the police state that they seized 58 dangerous dogs between January and 15 October in south Liverpool.

"That is too many for any area and something needs to be done about it.

"As ownership of these dogs has increased we are seeing more of these breeds in our parks.

"We are now reaching the situation where people, particularly older people, have become too scared to visit our parks."

Calls for stricter rules governing dog owners have been sparked by cases such as John Paul Massey, the four-year-old from Liverpool savaged to death by his uncle's illegal pit bull in December last year.

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, pitbull terriers are illegal, along with the Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Brasileiro.

A Dogs Trust spokeswoman added: "We are concerned that Ron Gould's proposal to introduce special rules may signal a wider 'demonisation' of particular breeds of dog based purely on their looks.

"Dogs Trust firmly believes that it is the responsibility of all dog owners to ensure that their dog is kept under control, regardless of the breed of dog.

"We would like to see Mr Gould's proposals clearly outlined."

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