Dog warden patrols among new measures considered to combat canine attacks in South Tyneside - South Shields campaigner welcomes moves

Carol Coxon dog attack law campaign. Dogs from left Georgie and Bentley
Carol Coxon dog attack law campaign. Dogs from left Georgie and Bentley

A campaigner for stronger dog control laws has welcomed a triple pledge by council bosses in South Tyneside to look to improve support for law-abiding owners.

Carol Coxon, 45, says she hopes possible new policies become permanent additions and are not “flash in the pan” responses brought about by her complaints.

Carol Coxon with her dogs Georgie, left, and Bentley

Carol Coxon with her dogs Georgie, left, and Bentley

South Tyneside Council has told her it intends to step up dog warden patrols, review warning signage in parks, and may add a new website link with information for owners on dog control.

The moves come in the wake of Mrs Coxon’s fight for improvements after friend Marion Barras’ pet Yorkshire Terrier was savaged by a stray canine in February.

The attack, close to the North Marine Park in South Shields, left her dog Ollie with serious bite injuries to his neck and her with a near £1,000 emergency vets’ bill.

Mrs Coxon, of Beach Road, South Shields, has since won the support of South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck for the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act to be updated.

She wants it to give the same protection to family pets from dog-on-dog attacks as it currently does to assistance canines, such as guide dogs.

The businesswoman said: “The council has told me that it will look at the potential for making these changes, which is a positive step forward.

“I just hope that it makes these improvements and is not just saying these things so that I will ease off on my campaign.”

As part of her initiative, Mrs Coxon has written to all 650 MPs to ask them back her bid for a House of Commons debate on changing the act.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck is one of over 33 to have signed an Early Day Motion, tabled in January, calling for the law to be updated.

South Tyneside Council has insisted that ways to report a dog attacks to its environmental health team, and guidance around strays, is available on its website.

A spokesman added: “A full response outlining the council’s current position has been provided to Mrs Coxon from our Environmental Health Service.

“As stated, the council already receives and records reports of dog on dog attacks.

“While we are giving consideration to some of the issues raised by Mrs Coxon, we understand she has contacted her MP about seeking a legislative change to deal with these issues and as previously stated, we believe this is the most appropriate approach.”