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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 19:57 GMT
Amnesty nets 86 'dangerous' dogs
Poster advertising the dogs hand-in
The dog amnesty has prompted hundreds of inquiries
More than 80 illegally-held dogs have been taken in by Merseyside Police during a dangerous dogs amnesty.

Nine of the 86 animals will be subject to a court decision on their future. In all police received 603 inquiries during the week-long initiative.

It was launched to give owners of illegal dog breeds the opportunity to hand in their pets without being prosecuted.

Owners of banned dogs have until midnight to hand them over.

The amnesty covers pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brazileiro breeds, which are banned under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act.

If owners choose not to hand them over voluntarily by the time the amnesty ends they will have their animals seized and could also face a 5,000 fine and six months imprisonment.

'Safety first'

Assistant Chief Constable Helen King, of Merseyside Police, said: "We understand that it has been a very difficult decision for many people to part with their animals.

"We are grateful to all of you for putting the safety of your children and the people of Merseyside ahead of the affection for your dog.

"Our dog handlers and dog identification officers have spent a lot of time with owners and approached each visit with great sensitivity."

Anyone calling Merseyside Police after the amnesty will be assessed on a case to case basis.

The amnesty follows the death of five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson, who was fatally mauled by a dog on New Year's Day.

Ellie was killed by her uncle's pit bull terrier at her grandmother's house in St Helens. He was questioned over the attack but not arrested.

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11 Jan 07 |  Merseyside
Child attack dog 'pit bull breed'
02 Jan 07 |  Merseyside
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05 Jun 06 |  Law in Action

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