Enfield dog owner’s petition presented to MPs

Emma Gambrill’s dog was attacked and killed by two others, reports Olivia Devereux-Evans and James Cracknell

Emma's dog Blue was attacked and killed by another dog
Emma’s dog Blue was attacked and killed by another dog

A petition to make dog-on-dog attacks a criminal offence – started by an Enfield woman whose own pet was killed – has been presented to parliament after amassing more than 150,000 signatures.

Enfield North MP Feryal Clark submitted the petition to the House of Commons after it was launched by her constituent Emma Gambrill, whose dog Blue was attacked in March.

Emma and Blue had been walking along Sewardstone Road in the Lea Valley when they passed a property where two cane corso dogs – a breed often used as guard dogs – were sat on the steps. Seeing Blue, the pair ducked under a fence and began to violently maul him. After prising the dogs off with the help of passers-by, Blue was taken to a vet but later died.

The owners of the dogs that attacked Blue were issued by police with a Community Resolution Order, requiring secure land boundaries and muzzles in public, but because the breed is not listed by the Dangerous Dogs Act, no further police action was taken.

Feryal said: “The current legislation is insufficient and simply not good enough.

“The government’s response to the select committee’s recent review into the legislation was a serious missed opportunity to make the improvements needed to stop terrible incidents such as the one Emma experienced with Blue.

“The government can and must do more to hold owners to account and improve the provisions of the Dangerous Dogs Act, so that responsible dog owners like Emma do not suffer.”

Emma decided to launch her petition after hearing similar stories of owners who had lost their pets. She told the Dispatch: “I could not sit back and do nothing. Obviously for the initial period it was lots of tears and lots of upset. Then I think it was anger set in and I thought ‘how can nothing be happening?’

“How can this happen, and you are supposed to get on with it? There are so many people going through this. This was all preventable.”

Emma says the support for her petition was “unbelievable”. Describing Blue, she said: “He was just fantastic, outgoing and very loving. I have nightmares reliving it. We are just lost without him.”

The temporary closure of training facilities during the pandemic has seen many puppies go without proper or correct training and Emma has stressed the importance of dogs receiving the right training.

“You just have to be aware you have done everything you can. You are always going to have an owner of a dog who needs to take responsibility. It is the correct training.

“If they are let loose on their land to kill rabbits that behaviour has not been corrected. They have trained them the wrong way, which is irresponsible. I now have not got my dog who was the most beautiful dog in the world. I want things to change.”

Last month there was another dog-on-dog attack, this time in Pymmes Park in Edmonton. Jenny Jenkins’s 17-year-old deaf and blind shih tzu was pounced on by a shar pei dog. Jenny, who chairs the Friends of Pymmes Park community group, said: “The dog just flew round and went for my dog’s neck. She squealed but did not know what was going on because she cannot see or hear.

“I do not know where I got the strength from, but I grabbed hold of the dog by the collar. I teased it up into the air. It dropped my dog.”

Luckily, Jenny’s dog was not seriously hurt by the attack, but is now scared of other people and dogs. Jenny said: “If anybody comes too close to her on that side she does this really funny shaking movement and stands to one side.”

Jenny is now calling on owners to take more responsibility for their pets and said: “A lot of dogs do not like other dogs. Shar peis are well known for not liking other dogs. This is where the problem comes in.

“If dogs do not like dogs that is what is going to happen unless the owner has got control.”

To sign Emma’s dog-on-dog crime petition:
Visit change.org/p/government-dog-on-dog-attacks-to-be-criminal-offence