Of the 400 stray dogs rounded up each year by the city's animal welfare team, about 90 per cent are Staffordshire Bull Terrier type dogs. These dogs are put to sleep after seven days as most rehoming centres will not them. That's 360 dogs a year - more than one a day on average - put down.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier type dogs, regarded as a status symbol by some young men, are a major problem nationwide. Dealing with them and other agressive, or rather their owners, is very difficult. In Brighton and Hove City Council, for instance, dog owners are required to keep their dogs on leads on all public highways, but requests from animal welfare officers for loose dogs to be put on leads are often ignored and sometimes met with abusive language. And loose dogs will bite.
I don't want to demonise Staffies as a breed, rather the unscrupulous breeders who sell pups to anybody with enough money (and it can be up to £600) to buy one and the people who buy them without accepting the responsibilities of dog ownership.
If all dogs were chipped, it would be possible to trace the owners of loose dogs. Meanwhile, I'll be asking the council to give more publicity to the absolute requirement that dog owners should keep their dogs on leads when they are on the street.