St Neots woman disappointed with police response to dangerous dog

Love Farm resident Arlene Turner, with her cat Tom, who was attacked by a stray dog

Love Farm resident Arlene Turner, with her cat Tom, who was attacked by a stray dog - Credit: Archant

A St Neots woman left shaken and distressed after stepping in to stop a dog attack says she was dismayed at the police response.

Arlene Turner, of The Runnells, Loves Farm, was at home when she heard ­“frenzied barking” at the back door at about 7.30pm, on Saturday.

“I could see a Staffordshire bull terrier attacking my cat,” she said. “I grabbed the dog by the collar and scruff and pulled her off my cat.”

In the struggle, she suffered cuts to her knuckles but was otherwise unharmed.

Neighbours and her partner had to help restrain the animal, which had been running loose with no identity tag and no sign of an owner.

Fearing the dog could be a danger to others, Ms Turner did not want to let it go and rang the police.

She said: “We were reporting a ­potentially dangerous dog that we had temporarily restrained with inappropriate restraints and needed assistance.

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“All they said was that they had no reports of a missing dog, but if the owner did contact them, could they give them our details to collect it!

“When my partner said ‘So what am I supposed to do with this dog as I am not prepared to hold on to it as I consider it dangerous and have a child in the house, should I just let it go?’ they said ‘We are not advising you to do that’.”

They were given a number to call for out-of-hours stray dogs but were told it could not be collected and were advised to take it to Wood Green, at Godmanchester.

In desperation, Ms Turner called police again. “I was phoning to protect the public from a potentially dangerous breed of dog that had been on the loose,” she said.

“Again the police informed us that they don’t deal with dogs as they don’t have the facilities or kennels.”

Ms Turner said she was told she would receive a call back from police who would “assess the information” and “decide what to do” but no contact was made until 8.30am the following day.

After knocking on doors in surrounding roads without success, people living nearby took the dog around the estate and eventually tracked down its owner, who was unaware it had been missing, said Ms Turner.

It is not the first time there has been a problem with dogs on Loves Farm.

A girl was bitten about six weeks ago, according to a report made to the estate’s community association.

An RSPCA spokesman said police were obliged to respond to dogs out of control in a public place.

But he admitted that what to do with those found on private property was a grey area.

He said: “It’s unsurprising she did not get a satisfactory response. The police only act within the law as it is.”

A police spokesman confirmed it had received two calls from Ms Turner but said, as the law stands, if a dangerous dog is found on private property then it is not a police matter.

Ms Turner has written to complain to Cambridgeshire police, asking that more resources are made available to deal with dangerous dogs.