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By Beth Sharp Thursday 09 January 2014 Updated: 12/01 23:47
RESIDENTS in Bromsgrove and Rubery are being called to back a new campaign for a change in the law to protect police dogs on the front line.
It comes a fortnight after a police dog was attacked during a disturbance behind Bromsgrove's Dog and Pheasant pub in the early hours of Christmas morning.
In the eyes of the law police dogs are considered as 'property' so anyone who attacked or killed one would only face a criminal damage charge - the same charge someone would recieve for kicking a car.
Dave Hibbert, a West Midlands police puppy walker and the chairman of the Retired West Midlands Police Dog Benevolent Fund, has now launched an online Ministry of Justice petition.
In total 100,000 signatures are needed before the matter can be taken to Parliament.
Mr Hibbert is calling for a change to the law so police dogs can be recognised as serving 'members' of the force, in the same way officers are.
This would not only give police dogs greater protection in the line of duty but it would secure stiffer punishments for attackers and hopefully deter thugs from lashing out.
Mr Hibbert said police dogs did a fantastic job protecting our communities on a daily basis.
"They are the first to be called in when dangerous situations occur and they often put themselves on the line to protect their fellow officers.
"One of my own puppies, police dog Usha, was once attacked with a glass bottle and there have been recent examples of other police dogs being assaulted by criminals too.
"There seems to be a growing trend of attacks on police dogs and horses and I feel now is the time to push for a law change recognising the sterling work police dogs do for their communities," he added.
The online petition will be open until 28 November 2014 - visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/57585 for more.
THE STANDARD SAYS............
MANY people were shocked by the story we ran a fortnight ago about the large scale disturbance in Bromsgrove on Christmas morning when a police dog was kicked during the trouble.
It is just as shocking that, currently, if someone was charged with attacking a police dog it would come under the banner of 'criminal damage' - a charge usually used, as the name suggests, for those who damaged inanimate objects.
Let us hope the campaign and petition launched by police puppy walker Dave Hibbert is successful so it deters people from future attacks on police dogs and gets them the proper protection they deserve.
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