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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 16:29 GMT
Owners of dangerous dogs targeted
Dangerous dog
The scheme tackles the attitudes of youths who buy dangerous dogs
The public are to be protected from dangerous dogs in London's streets and parks under a new scheme.

The campaign, set up following a sharp rise in dog attacks, targets young people who use dogs to intimidate the public or as "status symbols".

It includes an educational pack and short film to be used in schools and youth groups.

The People with Dogs Project is a joint effort by the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the Blue Cross and the RSPCA.

It is supported by the police and City authorities.

The campaign, which tackles the attitudes of young people who buy dogs to frighten or endanger others, also follows concerns from animal rescue homes that they are at capacity with certain "tough-looking" breeds that are bought and later discarded when no longer wanted.

Threatening behaviour

Mark Callis, a spokesman for the project, said: "Too many young people are getting a dog as a status symbol without the knowledge of how to handle and care for an animal.

"It's a common sight in London to see kids hanging out on street corners with dogs and their behaviour can be very intimidating.

Recent figures from the Metropolitan Police show 943 incidents were reported in London last year of dogs being dangerously out of control in a public place involving threatening behaviour.

Last year the RSPCA received more than 230 complaints relating to dog-fighting in London, often amongst groups of young people in parks, including cases of dogs being deliberately set on people or other dogs.

This figure has doubled since 2006 and quadrupled since 2005.

Dangerous dog cases rise by 42%
28 Nov 07 |  London
Dog bite incidents show increase
28 Nov 07 |  Norfolk

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