Anna Firth was elected as MP for Southend West last month and wants dog-on-dog attacks made a criminal offence. She is calling for a change to the Dangerous Dogs Act. The former barrister launched her campaign after constituent Michael Joannou’s bichon frise, Millie, was mauled to death by another dog in Chalkwell Park in Essex.
Dog-on-dog attacks are currently only an offence if the dog attacked is an assistance dog, which Ms Firth describes as a “massive loophole”.
She said: “I’ve made a very public commitment to build on Sir David’s legacy. I’m a dog lover myself and I just know Sir David would be completely behind this campaign. It’s also the right thing to do for dog lovers.”
Mr Joannou said the attack on December 27 last year was “like a horror movie” as his helpless pet was “torn apart” before his eyes.
The former teacher said: “The first bite was fatal. It put her in its mouth in seconds and tried to drag her away from me. I don’t think anyone should ever have to witness that.”
Ms Firth last week had a meeting with the RSPCA and animal welfare charity Blue Cross to discuss her campaign. Anna Wade, at Blue Cross, said: “Dog-on-dog attacks are an ongoing problem across the country and, in addition to being severely traumatic, can be a clear indicator of irresponsible dog ownership.
“Opportunities to prevent further harm to other animals, or children and adults, can be missed when these attacks go unprosecuted.”
A Defra spokesman said: “It is a criminal offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act to allow any dog to be dangerously out of control.”
Father-of-five Sir David, 69, died last October after being stabbed multiple times in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Ali Harbi Ali, 25, denies murder and planning a terror attack. His trial is due to start next week.