MORE than 300 dog attacks have been reported to Dorset Police in the past year, an FOI request has revealed.

Attacks peaked in the summer of 2023, with 45 reported in June and 38 in August.

The data for 2023 shows a rise in the number of incidents, and brings the total number of attacks reported since January 2019 to more than 1440.

Major dog attacks in the conurbation over recent years have resulted in injuries, destruction orders, and court appearances.

In Charminster Road in Bournemouth, a dog reportedly attacked five people while off the lead. 

All five victims sustained dog bite injuries and were taken to hospital following the incident on December 28. 

Earlier in the year, a dog attack in Christchurch left a man with 14 puncture wounds to his left elbow, forearm, and wrists. 

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted to Dorset Police gathered data for attacks reported in ‘the force area’ between January 1 and October 31 for the years 2019 to 2023.

The Performance Analysis Department searched through offences in which a person was in charge of dog out of control causing injury, a person was in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury or resulting in death, and a person was in charge of dog dangerously out of control causing injury to an assistance dog.

For 2023, there was a total of 317 reported dog attacks, compared to 298 in 2022, 287 in 2021 and 268 in 2020.

Dorset Police said the increase in reports is "likely to be the fall out from the Covid-19 pandemic".

A spokesperson for the force said: "These dogs had little or no contact with the everyday world and we are now seeing a number of these dogs being overwhelmed by the world we are trying to get them to cope with.

"A lot of dog owners currently are also first time owners with little or know experience of how to train a dog and so we are seeing more and more behaviour problems.

"To stop so many reports then we would like to see people take more responsibility over their dog."

Dorset Police has also changed the way in which it deals with dangerous dogs, seeing it launch Operation Indie.

This operation will see dog handlers deployed to the homes of offending dogs to carry out checks and issue advice which could prevent them being seized, while putting onus on the owner to prove responsible dog ownership.