An owner who saw her beloved pet dog mauled by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier says inaction by the authorities has added to her distress.
Minnie, a Maltese weighing just 2.6kg, needed three operations and spent 10 days at a pet hospital after the attack near Tower Works in Holbeck.
Lisa Harrison had been walking Minnie with friends on July 1 when a canal boat moored nearby and the two Bull Terriers leaped off. They ran across a grassed area, with one chasing another dog and the second sinking its teeth into Minnie’s throat.
“It’s broken her jaw, ripped a tooth out, and damaged part of her gums and ear,” she said.
“The police were quite dismissive – they’re overstretched, it’s a dog and it’s already happened. She’s not just a dog. She’s like my family. It was quite an ordeal because I didn’t know how bad things were going to be.”
The attack is being investigated by police, but Miss Harrison said they had still not spoken to the other owner. Meanwhile, the RSPCA said it only accepted cases of cruelty.
Miss Harrison, 48, said: “I feel like the laws, the way they’re geared, is that these owners slip through the net. I would hate their inaction to mean someone’s child is hurt. Just because it’s another dog, why won’t take it seriously?”
She said boat owners near her home in Granary Wharf told her of two more attacks by the same dogs, including one where a man was bitten.
West Yorkshire Police’s website says dog bites should be reported by calling 101 – or 999 in an emergency – while dangerous dogs should be reported to Leeds City Council.
But the council says its wardens would pass evidence of any dog attacks on to police for action.
A spokeswoman said its focus was on issues linked to responsible dog ownership such as breaches of dog control orders, dog fouling, microchipping and strays.
Changes to the law in 2014 made it an offence to own or be in charge of a dog that attacks an assistance dog only.
It is also a criminal offence to be in charge of a dog that is ‘out of control’, meaning it injures someone or makes someone worried that it might injure them.
Government guidance says a court could also decide that a dog is dangerously out of control if it attacks someone’s animal or the owner thinks they could be injured in trying to stop an attack.