ITV's Dangerous Dogs – statement

By on 25/03/2014 in News

Birmingham City Council deals with 4,500 complaints each year regarding dog related issues and collects approximately 1,500 stray dogs every year.

Dog warden/enforcement officer Kelly Evans was asked to participate in the filming of a TV documentary on Dangerous Dogs which focused on the issues of irresponsible dog ownership as a significant factor in respect of dangerous dogs. 

Kelly was filmed removing an Akita which had been abandoned in squalid conditions. There has been some criticism as to how she handled the dog in question.

The domestic premises in which the dog was left was filled with rubbish and heavily contaminated with dog faeces. The dog therefore needed to be removed on welfare grounds as soon as possible to avoid any further suffering to the dog and so Kelly made the decision to remove the dog herself as she had dealt with numerous Akitas before.

The Akita was extremely aggressive and naturally defensive of its property, but after several attempts Kelly was able to secure the dog with a grasper. A grasper does not hurt a dog and is an essential part of any dog warden's equipment. It is used in cases where a dog is showing aggression in order to protect the dog itself and the person removing it, as well as other people.

Having secured the dog, Kelly then tried to remove it from the premises and take it into her vehicle.  She was not to know that the Akita would put up such a prolonged fight that it became completely exhausted; dogs usually come under control much more quickly. The situation was exacerbated by the heat and also the likelihood that the dog was dehydrated, as there appeared to be no water available for the dog in the property.  Kelly was quick to ensure that the dog had water as soon as it was taken out of the house.

Kelly is a trained and experienced dog warden, but having viewed the film herself, Kelly accepted that some elements of the handling could have been done in a different way. However, management is supportive of Kelly's actions in dealing with this very difficult and dangerous situation.

It is very easy to be critical whilst viewing the incident retrospectively, but the officer was in an extremely difficult situation with a number of factors that were beyond her control. The dog was ultimately removed without any injury to members of the public or staff and although the dog was exhausted, it was not harmed and quickly recovered. Had the dog been left in the property for any longer, it would either have died or have become so aggressive it would be impossible to re-home it.  Fortunately, thanks to Kelly's actions, once this dog had been properly cared for it was found to be sociable and suitable for re-homing.

We wish to make it clear that the programme also featured officers from other local authorities, who do not work for Birmingham City Council.

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  1. Tans says:

    It was not what Kelly did but how she did it. Screaming and screaming just added to the stress of the dog.. Any professional dog handler would know to stay calm. Maybe a little more training for Kelly.

  2. Lucy H says:

    I dispute that the “Akita was extremely aggressive”. The dog was in the doorway barking without direct eye contact which shows a more fear based reaction. I understand that a grasper was required to ensure safety of the warden but the approach used was not correct. I believe further training for the wardens is essential. The situation was rushed, the dog was confused and scared, time taken to gain some trust from the dog would have been a better way to deal with the situation, a calm approach, an offer of some water would have gone some way to gain some trust. Attempting to get a nervous powerful breed whilst wearing your emotions on your sleeve is not a good approach.

  3. Barbara King says:

    I saw absolutely nothing wrong with the way in which she handled the dog. Of course it was lying down and panting! It was exhausted from the fight it put up, it was hot and it needed water (which it was given). And of course it was restrained around the neck. If it had not been, the situation for all concerned – dog wardens and the people who were in the background – could have become very dangerous indeed. I’m sure the job of dog warden, which is a very necessary one, can be unpleasant at times, and I’m sure the people moaning about this incident would not like to have to wade through smelly and unpleasant piles of dog faeces in the course of their employment. Well done, Kelly!

  4. mark says:

    Having watched the programme, I was struck, not only by the disgusting circumstances that people keep pets, but by the very fact that, and I may be stereotyping but I doubt it, how many of these owners, are unlikely to have ever or are ever likely to hold a job down. Particularly the “family” , which it was difficult to work out the relationships but the apparent gene pool suggested all being close family members, 2 women and an elderly man, with dogs, cats, gerbils, all living in absolute squalor. I hope the benefits department were watching, because unless there was an inheritance from a rich “uncle”, the only way these people were able to chain smoke and overfeed themselves, and hopefully feed the animals was by the benefits system. To have enough money to live as they do, despite the squalor and I suggest that is choice rather than poverty, the income must be substantial. Change the law. Get the animals out and rehoused, re assess the income necessity, and force a change in lifestyle. I realise there are considerable learning difficulties within the household but in that case people should not be allowed to keep pets; or at least only under the watchfull eye of the RSPCA or other departments with an interest. Its just too easy to keep pets and its only neighbours’ complaints that brought this to anyones attention.
    I could go on; look at the same typeof people, who own the Staffs and Pitt bull lookalikes purely because they have a certain reputation.

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