POLICE are targeting dog owners whose pets run free in a Shildon park attacking other animals.

Complaints have been raised about some dog walkers in Hackworth Park who do not put their pets on a lead.

Several residents claim that the loose dogs attack other pets and claim that the dogs' owners are also abusive when confronted about the attacks.

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The issue was raised at a recent Byerley and Sunnydale Police and Community Together meeting and it is thought that the issue is particularly bad around 9am.

PC Dave Littlefair, of Shildon police, said: “People are concerned that some of the dogs are vicious and that, at times, they fight with other dogs which are on leads.

“Residents also stated that the owners of the dogs verbally abuse them if they are challenged about their dogs not being under control.

“There are also concerns that one of the dogs could attack a small child in the park and this is something that we clearly want to avoid.

“This is clearly unacceptable. We’ll pay particular attention to the park and more patrols will be held there to identify anyone who is not keeping their dogs under proper control.”

The police are prepared to use the Dog Legislation Act and Public Order Act against irresponsible pet owners in a bid to clamp down on the problem.