Most dogs are completely harmless. Most are nothing more than cuddly family pets. But 70,000 people a year require medical treatment after being bitten. Young children are the most vulnerable and the Department for the Environment is looking at changing the law to protect the public.
Terry Singh with a captured dog
So the Politics Show spent the day with Bradford's chief Dog Warden, Terry Singh. For 27 years he's patrolled the streets of the city making sure that dangerous dogs are rounded up and the public is kept safe.
9am: Bitten at a funeral
Terry and the team check out the day's work
Terry and his colleagues, Steve and Elaine, go through today's call sheet. Between them they have nearly 70 years experience as Dog Wardens.
Today there are reports of an Alsatian biting a gravedigger during a funeral. They also hear of a pit bull type dog on the loose. It has already attacked other dogs and there are children nearby.
Terry estimates that there are 50,000 dogs in Bradford. He also thinks that around 20% of them are "latch-key" animals - with bad owners who fail to supervise them properly.
11am: Surprise visit
Terry and Steve pay someone a surprise visit. A pit bull type dog has been causing a problem running loose in a road packed with young mums and their children. As they arrive they see it in the distance off the lead. The owner rushes to slip a chain on it before Terry and Steve can get there. If it is on private property all they can do is give the owner a good talking to. This is their fourth visit to the property.
Terry tries to contact the owner
Terry is frustrated by his lack of powers. "We're completely toothless" he says. No pun is intended. He is deadly serious. He feels he is only able to act after a tragedy has occurred. He would dearly like to have more powers to prevent attacks - perhaps the ability to issue fixed ticket fines to irresponsible owners.
Midday: No luck on the phone
Terry tries to find the Alsatian which bit the gravedigger. He visits the Bowling Cemetery in Bradford but the animal is long gone. He tries to contact the owner but the mobile phone number that the man had supplied turns out to be false. The victim is asked to keep an eye out for the dog. There's nothing more Terry can really do.
3pm: Satisfaction at last
Success - safe behind bars
Terry picks up a stray dog. A local resident, Sarfraz Hussein, had found it the previous night growling on his doorstep. He bravely made friends with it and took it in. Now Terry takes over. The dog has an expensive collar but no identity disc (a legal requirement). It is put in the back of Terry's van and taken to a nearby kennels. The owners will have 7 days to claim it before it is destroyed.
4pm: Back to base
Back to the office to face the mounting pile of paperwork, and get ready for another day's work tomorrow (this time without a camera crew in tow!)
The Politics Show Sunday 03 June 2007 at 12:00 BST on BBC One.
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