Page last updated at 17:57 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 18:57 UK

Met urged to destroy dangerous dogs to save money

A dog in police custody
There are currently 451 dogs held in Met police kennels

Scotland Yard has been urged to destroy thousands of dangerous dogs rather than paying more than £10m to care for them.

The Metropolitan Police (Met) plans to outsource kennelling and care of dangerous dogs, which could cost up to £10m over four years.

Lord Harris, former Metropolitan Police Authority chairman, asked: "Why don't we just put them down?"

A record 1,146 dogs, including pit-bull terriers, were seized in London in 2009. Police currently have 451 dogs.

Each dog can cost the force up to £9,000, while owners fight lengthy court cases trying to prevent destruction.

'Enormous sum'

Lord Harris said the public would be shocked by the cost.

"We seem to be spending an enormous sum of money on keeping weapons for other people. Why do we keep on doing that?" he asked.

The number of dogs held by the police often surges after high profile incidents, such as when children are attacked.

Police said they could complete the paperwork needed to destroy a dog within 72 hours, but court cases can take years to conclude.

Supt Julia Pendry, who is responsible for the Met's status dogs unit, said the force must operate within the law.

"It would be absolutely fantastic if we could destroy these dogs," she said.

"Unfortunately it is a criminal offence because the property belongs to other people.

"Secondly, the RSPCA would probably prosecute me, and people like Defra and the national press would have a field day if we started killing dogs that were people's pets," she added.

Print Sponsor

Illegal dogs sold on the streets
18 Mar 10 |  London
Man guilty of dog attack murder
18 Mar 10 |  London
Murder case solved with dog DNA
18 Mar 10 |  London

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific