POLICE are urging owners to control their pets as dangerous dogs are placing unprecedented demand on officers and resources.

At the weekend, police received 14 calls for dogs dangerously out of control across South Yorkshire.

Those calls included reports of a two-year-old child suffering facial injuries in Doncaster, a man in Sheffield and a woman in Rotherham requiring surgery following attacks by their own dogs within their homes, and an innocent man attacked by a loose dog.

The force says that emergency calls for dangerous dogs present a financial cost every time they respond, often requiring officers from multiple teams to attend, as well as contracted kennel personnel who then transport, house and care for the dogs until action is decided.

Following the initial emergency response, officers then carry out safeguarding checks and referrals for vulnerable people, progress the investigation into any criminal aspects of the incident and ensuring justice is secured.

Separate from the investigative resources, the dogs seized during incidents must be cared for and kennelled until a decision is made.

Already in 2024, South Yorkshire Police have seized over 300 dogs for various reasons, most often because they were deemed to be dangerously out of control or suspected to be a banned breed. These dogs have to be kennelled at the taxpayer’s cost.

Leading the work on dangerous dogs, Chief Inspector Emma Cheney said: “Each dangerous dog incident is a cost to the force. Each incident takes police officers away from responding to other incidents, it is resource intensive and, in some instances, could be prevented if owners would take precautions and stop thinking it won’t happen to me or my children.

“In addition to the police resources, serious incidents add a further pressure to our NHS colleagues, and in some cases, social services, and housing associations.

“Please act. Please follow our advice, understand your dog and its behaviour, and seek help where necessary.”

You are more likely to be bitten by a dog in your own home. Police advise, for everyone’s safety:

Do not leave children unattended with dogs

Walk your dog on a lead in public areas

Make sure your dog has somewhere safe and comfortable to go when you have visitors