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Campaigners in dangerous dogs call

Owners of dogs bred for violence should receive the same punishment as criminals found with knives, campaigners have said.

Victims of savage dog attacks joined forces to urge the Government to step up its work to tackle the menace of the aggressive animals.

They have thrown their weight behind a pledge demanding action from legislators to do more to protect the public from intimidation and violence.

Campaigners want penalties for using certain breeds as weapons to be matched to knife possession, which can lead to a four-year jail term.

They also want legislation to be extended so police can seize dangerous dogs anywhere, including those involved in attacks on private property.

Punishments should also be introduced that tackle the behaviour of owners after their dog has been involved in an attack or found to be out of control.

Barrie Hopcroft, 42, needed 36 stitches to injuries to his hand and ankle when his Labrador guide dog Bailey was attacked in Elephant and Castle last July.

Mr Hopcroft said he heard the young male owner of the dog laughing as he struggled to separate the two fighting dogs.

He said: "I would like to see similar legislation to Australia where if a dog is considered dangerous it must wear a muzzle and be on a leash.

"If they are not, the owner is fined automatically. In Britain, they take action if there's dog mess on the floor but not if the dog attacks someone."

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