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New study demonstrates link between status dogs and crime

Simon Harding - Criminologist

The results of a three year study into the links between status dogs and crime has prompted its author, Middlesex University criminologist Simon Harding, to call for tougher government action on dangerous dogs.

Harding, who was motivated to carry out his research following the dog related murder of Seyi Ogunyemi in South London, said: “This issue has been talked about extensively without resolution. The Government and authorities need to get their fingers out and resolve the issue. No more excuses, more needs to be done proactively and we can’t just wait for more victims of aggressive dog attacks.
“I found there was an increase in public anxiety, people are using parks and public spaces differently where these dogs are found, and these concerns are valid.
“I was surprised that it wasn’t just a protection or fashion issue and that money was a major factor in people wanting to own these dogs. The notion that gangs are switching to using dogs instead of knives as weapons isn’t necessarily true – dogs are used for money and status. This increased commoditisation of dogs has led to more backstreet breeding and more aggressive dogs bred specifically to seek out aggressive characteristics.

Over 100 interviews were conducted during the study with gang members and other dangerous dog owners.  He found that animals were changing hands for up to £10,000 each and dogs were being purchased for money and credibility as well as status and protection.

Please click here to read more about the findings of the study.

The research is published in the book by Simon Harding; ‘Unleashed: The phenomena of status dogs and weapon dogs’ published by The Policy Press.

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