For full disclosure: I am an animal lover. That ‘love’ however has differing levels.

I eat creatures as a fully paid-up carnivore, so I would not class myself in the animal love premier league. On the other hand, I no longer wish to visit zoos as, despite their protestations to the contrary, I fail to see how the self-styled conservation argument that is trotted out trumps letting wild things of beauty run free among the plains of the Serengeti.

Recently, I read a headline about two women who had been mauled by two dogs, with one now on life support. Without even clicking on the story my immediate thought was ‘Liverpool’.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis admits to being an animal loverBrett Ellis admits to being an animal lover (Image: Brett Ellis)

And so I clicked and the subtitle read ‘Horror Merseyside attack leaves two women with severe injuries’. The detail of the attack was horrific. ‘Ripped clothing and a pair of slippers’ were cordoned off in the road, there was ‘blood everywhere’ and one woman, at least, had serious injuries to her face and neck.

Still wondering if I was imagining these attacks being Liverpool centric, I undertook some research and felt justified in my initial assumption: A Liverpool Echo story from earlier this year entitled "Merseyside named as dangerous dog capital", shed more than a shaft of light on this unfortunate subject: official figures show that you are 10 times more likely to be admitted to hospital due to dog attacks in Liverpool than anywhere else in the country.

Only last year poor Bella-Rae Birch, aged 17-months, died after being mauled by an American Bully XL, a dog not subject to any prohibitions under the 1999 dangerous dogs act. This was followed by 65-year-old Ann Dunn who was mauled by multiple American bulldogs in the same area.

So I guess the only question that really demands an answer is why Liverpool? It seems from numerous reports that the police are ‘scared’ of demonising a particular subset of society, instead choosing to blame ‘irresponsible owners’ whilst missing the true cause.

The RSPCA however have shown some steel and claimed it is due to ‘machoism’ and they are right. Young (mainly) men, in areas of social deprivation and high crime are scared and, not wanting to risk carrying a knife or gun, go for the next best legal option.

Urgent reform is needed to call this as it is: The Dangerous Dogs Act needs to be urgently reviewed and these ‘new’ breeds of dog banned. Oh, and having boots on the ground with bobbies on the beat would surely negate the need for such violent weapons being used for self-protection.

Only then will we see children playing safely in the Merseyside streets without the risk of having their faces ripped off by a dog whose aggression is as noticeable as its owners are desperate…..

  • Brett Ellis is a school teacher.