Dangerous dogs are terrorising children on their way to school in the Black Country, an MP has claimed.
Lynda Waltho (Lab Stourbridge) urged police to crack down on dog-owners who fail to keep their pets under control, and called for a major publicity drive to encourage responsible behaviour.
She warned that the West Midlands had experienced an increase in illegal dogfighting tournaments, and said dogs bred specifically for fighting could be a menace to the public.
The Government has announced proposals to force all dog owners in England and Wales to insure against their pet attacking people - and to fit them with microchips, so the owner can be easily traced.
Speaking in the House of Commons, she highlighted the growing popularity of the presa canario breed, also known as the Canary dog, which was bred on the Spanish Canary Islands to hunt wild boar.
Ms Waltho said two of these dogs were involved in “a reign of terror” in Wollescote, in her Black Country constituency.
“Wollescote is one of the most ancient parts of my constituency, and one of the nicest places in which to walk and play is the green space by Rufford primary school.
“Presa canario dogs are Canary Island fighting dogs and a relatively new breed to this country. Two such dogs have been allowed by their owner to run free on this field for some time, and have attacked other dogs and chased and frightened young children and parents on their way to and from school.
“On each occasion it has been reported, and the police have attended, but of course the incident is usually long finished.”
She added: “I would like the Minister to investigate this breed and consider it for inclusion on the dangerous breeds list.”
Local residents wanted “irresponsible owners who allow their dogs to intimidate or harm others” to pay for vets bill or medical treatment resulting from an attack, she said.
“The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals saw a twelve-fold increase in complaints about dogfights between 2004 and 2008, and there are significant increases in the West Midlands in particular.”
Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said: “Changing the law is only one aspect of solving the problem . . . much more important are changing attitudes and fostering responsible dog ownership.
“We should not forget, however, that despite all the tabloid headlines, there are a lot of responsible dog owners out there in the country.”