A man from the Penn area of Wolverhampton has been handed an interim injunction order following a string of dog attacks. The order, which was granted by Wolverhampton Combined Court on Friday 2 July, places numerous conditions on the man, which if broken could result in him being arrested.
Wolverhampton Homes’ Anti-social Behaviour (ASB) team was first alerted to the problem on 30 March 2021, after the man’s dog, a large German Shepherd, attacked another dog in Muchall Park off Manor Road in Penn. The other dog was not killed but suffered serious injuries, resulting in hundreds of pounds in vet fees.
During a Partner Agency Tasking meeting in April, attended by West Midlands Police and other support and enforcement agencies, the ASB team learned of three previous attacks by the same dog, dating back to October 2018. In these cases, it was reported that the dog owner was also verbally abusive to members of the public.
Due to the nature of the incidents and the fact no people were harmed in any of the attacks, the police were unable to pursue prosecution under the Dangerous Dogs Act. However, concerned for the public and unwilling to leave any further attacks to chance, the ASB team gathered intelligence during April and May to support an anti-social behaviour injunction.
A further dog attack on 9 June, in which the owner of the other dog was also bitten while trying to intervene, provided the ASB team with the evidence it needed to proceed with an emergency injunction.
The case was originally scheduled to be heard in court on 11 June but was adjourned until 25 June to allow the owner of the German Shepherd to provide a defence. The application was successful, with the injunction being formally served on the man on 2 July 2021.
The injunction order requires the man, who is in his 50’s and well known in the Penn area, to ensure:
- his dog is kept on a leash not exceeding two metres
- the dog is muzzled while in any public space
- the dog is only handled by people above the age of 16
- he has an insurance policy for the dog
- he does not use violent or abusive language to anyone
West Midlands Police have powers to arrest the man should he breach some of these conditions, subject to sufficient evidence. Anyone in or around the Penn area who witnesses a breach is urged to report the matter to the police straight away.
Joanne Mason, Head of Housing Operations for Wolverhampton Homes said:
“We were deeply concerned by the reports of dog attacks. Dog owners are responsible for their pets and must understand that they could be held liable for any harm caused by their dog, whether it be to a person or someone’s pet.
“Injunctions are a powerful tool in managing anti-social behaviour within our communities and are a proven deterrent. Though it can take time to collect and collate the evidence needed for a court application, we hope that this recent success will assure residents that we are taking the matter very seriously.
“We work closely with West Midlands Police and other agencies, and we will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone who is found to be putting others at risk of harm, either through negligence or wilful intent.”
The injunction order is an interim order and is due to be reviewed in court in August. In the meantime, the ASB team encourages anyone who witnesses nuisance or potentially criminal behaviour to report the matter to the police.