A DANGEROUS dog amnesty is set to be held in Hyndburn following an horrific New Year's Day attack which killed a five-year-old girl.
Hyndburn Councillor Brian Roberts is spearheading the campaign for an amnesty after he was viciously bitten while out canvassing last September. He needed eight stitches to the groin but has now fully recovered.
But it was the fatal attack on little Ellie Lawrenson, who was attacked by a pit bull-type dog in St Helens, which has sparked fears that owners are breeding illegal dogs which are trained to attack.
Last year 13 dangerous dogs were seized in Hyndburn. Some were pit bulls bred specifically to be fighters.
Speaking about an amnesty, Inspector Terry Woods, head of Accrington Police, said: "We would support anything that improves public safety in Hyndburn and welcome a discussion on how an amnesty could be properly co-ordinated."
He said he would welcome a discussion on how to launch the initiative at the next Community Safety Partnership meeting.
Following stories in the national press about dangerous dogs, calls to Hyndburn dog warden Steve Wood have increased dramatically and he fears people are starting to panic.
He said there was also a danger some dogs could be dumped on the streets by people frightened of being reported to the police.
He added: "There are idiotic people who purposely train dogs to be aggressive and then go out and let them attack anything in sight. They think it's funny."
He said if anyone felt threatened by a dog they are advised to stand still, fold their arms and avoid eye contact with the animal.
Councillor Roberts told the Observer: "My experience was extremely frightening. If I had been a child at the door, the dog could have bitten my face and I would have been scarred for life.
"I could not sleep at night if I didn't warn people about what could happen and try to do something about it."
Councillor Roberts, a former dog owner, added: "I think we need to stress the responsibility that people have when they own dogs.
"When something like this happens there is a national outcry. If we can warn dog owners now, then the chances of it happening again are reduced."
Anyone who owns a dangerous dog or would like to report someone who does, should contact Accrington Police on 51212 or the dog warden on 380667.