SOUTH Yorkshire Police have issued another appeal to dog owners to keep their dogs and their communities safe following incidents at the weekend which saw two innocent dogs die and a teenager injured.

This follows a warning from dog liaison officers last week after two postal workers were bitten in Dodworth and West Melton.

Over the weekend, officers seized seven dogs for various offences, three of which had escaped from gardens, were out of control and aggressively attacked innocent dogs.

Officers said that like other forces across the country, they are seeing incidents of dogs being out of control, loose and causing harm and injury to innocent animals and people in our communities.

Dog Legislation Officer Rachel Attwell said: “It goes without saying that no officer enjoys seizing a dog from its owner, or seeing that a dog is responsible for an animal or person’s injuries.

“We love dogs, I have dogs myself. We want to see them being enjoyed by families, loved and respected, but unfortunately a small minority of owners do not take appropriate action.

“This weekend three dogs escaped from their gardens and caused significant injury. A 15-year-old child suffered injuries in Sheffield, and required hospital treatment.

“A further two dogs, one in Sheffield and one in Doncaster when innocently out with their owners enjoying a walk were attacked and left with injuries requiring veterinary treatment. Both dogs sadly died a short time later.

“The spring weather is finally on its way, and dogs may spend more time in the garden or out walking.

“Now is the time to check your fences, making sure they’re high enough to stop your dog jumping over, strong enough that they can’t fall down and also that there are no gaps or small spaces in which you dog could escape from.

“Garden gates should be secure and if you dog reacts to a person entering your property, a fixed lock that cannot be opened from the outside should be used.

“You as an owner are responsible for your dog’s actions, whether you are inside your home, your garden, or out in public. It is you as an owner that will face the consequences and be put before the courts.”

We will where possible work with owners to return dogs to the home or rehome where necessary. We work closely with charities that can offer a Dog Ownership Course, which can be made mandatory for owners to attend if believed necessary.

PC Atwell added: “We continue to urge members of the public to report dogs in your area that you believe could pose a risk to people’s safety.

“If we are aware, we can offer help to the owner, work in partnership with the Blue Cross where support and training can be provided, but ultimately, we can protect and safeguard anyone living in the house, or in contact with the dog regularly, such as children.

“We are not just here to seize dogs, and those reported to us are not immediately seized. We pride ourselves on it being the last resort.”

You can report any concerns online via the South Yorkshire Police website, using the live chat facility or by calling 101.