DOG owners are being reminded to keep their pets under control following a terrifying incident in Falkland in which a young girl was allegedly set upon by four Staffordshire bull terriers.
The girl was reportedly walking her puppy on Falkland Estate when it was attacked by the dogs, which were running free.
According to an onlooker, when she tried to intervene she was badly bitten.
A spokesman for Fife Constabulary confirmed that they were aware of the incident but could not take action as they had not had a formal complaint.
However, generally if a person is bitten by another person’s dog or dogs while trying to protect their own dog, then this matter should be reported to the police, and it would be up to them to investigate under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Fife Council’s dog wardens also have considerable powers under the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010, which came into force in February 2011.
Graeme Anderson MBE, of the local authority’s transportation and environmental services, explained that under the new act a Dog Control Notice (DCN) could have been issued in this case if the dogs were fighting and nobody was injured.
He said: “The Act was introduced to try to prevent such incidents happening and a DCN can place certain restrictions on the offender’s dog, such as it being muzzled and on a lead at all times when in public, or requiring it to attend training classes.
“If that person breaches this DCN then a report would be sent to the procurator fiscal and it could lead to a fine or even the destruction of the dog if ordered by the court.”
Mr Anderson said that dog wardens can also issue DCNs if a dog’s behaviour gives rise to ‘alarm or apprehensiveness’.
This means if a person fears for their own safety, that of another person or of their own animal, as in the case of the alleged Falkland incident.
“If a member of the public believes that another person’s dog causes them alarm or apprehensiveness then they should report the incident on 08451 550022 and a dog warden will investigate,” said Mr Anderson.