A COLCHESTER dog trainer believes the coronavirus pandemic is to blame for the number of dog attacks recorded over the last four years.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed the number of dog attack incidents and seizures of dangerous dogs in Essex between January 2019 and October 2023.

The data also specifies the breed of each dog and the number dogs which were destroyed between January 2019 and June 2023.

The incidents are described as being either dog-on-dog attacks and those that generated a fear of injury against humans.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Response - data shows the number of dogs seized by policeResponse - data shows the number of dogs seized by police (Image: Essex Police)

Breeds which have been seized the most in the last five years include the American Bulldog, XL Bully, Pit Bull Terrier, crossbreed dogs, Cane Corso, German Shepherd and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Breeds which had only one incident of being seized since 2019 include Bichon Frise, Alano Bulldog, Chow Chow, Pug, Yorkshire Terrier, Cavapoo, Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, Dachshund and Ridgeback.

The recorded number of dog attack incidents are:

2019 - 729

2020 - 945

2021- 1,090

2022 - 1,356

2023 (up to October, 1) - 1,154

The recorded number of dogs seized are:

2019 - 74

2020 - 88

2021- 83

2022 - 107

2023 (up to June 6) - 61

The recorded number of seized dogs which were destroyed are:

2019 - 34

2020 - 33

2021 - 52

2022 - 55

2023 (up to June 6) - 30

Saffron Walden Reporter: Puppy - Saffron Rose Davis with puppyPuppy - Saffron Rose Davis with puppy (Image: Saffron Rose Davis)

Saffron Rose Davis, 26, from Fordham Heath, is studying to become a dog trainer and has a puppy which is a cross between a Saint Bernard, Boxer and Johnson American bulldog.

She said: “I don't like saying this as it gets a lot of people angry, but the figures show Covid-19 has a lot to answer for unfortunately.

“During Covid, we were all in lockdown and people were going out buying puppies, but people weren't able to attend dog training classes to get the right kind of socialisation and now we are seeing a lot more reactive dogs than ever before.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Family - Saffron with two of her dogs Zina and YogiFamily - Saffron with two of her dogs Zina and Yogi (Image: Saffron Rose Davis)

“Any dog can bite whether they are big or small, it's just smaller dogs tend to get away with a lot more because they don't cause any harm.

“Any families out there that have children around dogs my advice would be never leave them unattended no matter how big or how small.

“That's why a lot of dog trainers like to educate the public.”