South Shields dog attack woman calls for change in the law after park incident

Marion Barras with dog Ollie after he was attacked by another dog near North Marine Park
Marion Barras with dog Ollie after he was attacked by another dog near North Marine Park

A grandmother from South Tyneside has given her backing to a campaign for dogs and their owners to be registered on a national safety database.

Just days after her pet was savagely mauled, Marion Barras, 76, of Salmon Street, South Shields, said action must be taken to reduce the likelihood of attacks that left her dog Ollie with severe bite puncture wounds to its neck.

Gaye Fisher

Gaye Fisher

Ollie, six, was attacked by a stray Staffordshire bull terrier seconds after he and Mrs Barras left the town’s North Marine Park at around 3.45pm last Saturday.

She has now been contacted supported by Gaye Fisher, 70, of Wallington, near Sutton, Surrey, whose dog Brody was killed by an Akita last May.

Mrs Fisher contacted MPs lookin for a change in the law and has set up an online petition to make owners more accountable for their pets.

It currently has almost 550 signatures, with 200 more coming in writing, and 245 people have joined her Facebook group.

She wants to see a national dog owner register established.

She believes it could follow a model established in Calgary, Canada, where owners and their pets are known to the authorities.

Its rules include dogs wearing a licence from the age of three months, being kept under control on ‘off leash’ areas, and owner agreement that their animals will not bite or attack.

Mrs Barras, a retired home care worker, said: “It’s nice to have been contacted by Gaye, someone who has also suffered from a similar experience, and been given support.

“I support her calls for tighter legislation around ownership, including both owner and dog being registered on a national database.

“Dog on dog attacks are an increasingly serious issue, and it is time legislation was in place so that owners are held accountable.”

Ollie has required around £1,000 in emergency vet care, and Mrs Barras, a widow, has been warned his condition may yet deteriorate.

Police are awar of the incident but, because the incident was ‘dog on dog’ it is not classed as a criminal offence.

Mrs Fisher said: “I have contacted Marion. An experience like hers can have a huge impact, especially on someone of her age.

“The number of attacks on humans has been increasing since the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act which obviously needs addressing.

“However the number of attacks on companion dogs, and cats, livestock and assistance dogs has also been increasing.

“As a dog on dog attack is not currently a criminal offence, very few make the news.

Mrs Fisher’s Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1800204616731629