FORTY people in Flintshire have been attacked by dogs in the last three years, figures have revealed.
Children as young as five have been victims of attacks and a 78-year-old has also been injured, data released by North Wales Police showed.
The majority of attacks happen in public places, with only four of the attacks being reported as happening in private houses.
A total of 22 injuries have been recorded as a result of dog attacks since 2011 – with 20 described as “slight” and two described as “serious”.
Seven children aged under 10 have been attacked by dogs in the time period. Four were aged between 10 and 16 and 29 of the 40 recorded victims were 16 or over.
The statistics, unveiled after a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Leader, revealed a total of nine dogs have been seized by police in the aftermath of attacks in the last three years with six being destroyed.
But no dogs were seized by police in 2013, when there were nine recorded attacks.
Staffordshire bull terriers are the breed responsible for the most recorded attacks in the county, with nine in the last three years.
Border collies and alsatians have been responsible for nine attacks between them.
In total 13 different breeds were listed as having attacked people in Flintshire.
North Wales deputy chief constable Gareth Pritchard, who is the national policing lead for dangerous dogs, has met Environment Secretary Owen Paterson MP and other MPs in a bid to improve legislation and police powers to improve public protection.
North Wales Police confirmed any stray dogs seen in Flintshire is now the responsibility of the local authority.
However, if they are suspected of being a prohibited breed, North Wales Police have a duty to examine them.
A police spokesman said: “By taking this proactive approach we can prevent a prohibited dog from remaining in the public domain.
“Should the owner refuse to allow the voluntary inspection of the dog then a warrant would be executed for the dog to be seized and inspected.”
An RSPCA spokesman said: “Often people only consider aggressive behaviour in a dog to be a problem when it reaches the extremes of biting, but it can include lesser degrees, such as grumbling, growling, snarling, teeth baring and snapping at the air without making contact.
“Anyone with concerns about the behaviour of their dog should seek professional help immediately.”
In Wrexham 12 children aged 15 and under have been victims of dog attacks since February, 2011 – a third of the total number.
Four children aged five and under and five children between six and 10 were attacked.
Number of attacks on people per dog breed in Flintshire from 2011-2013
l Staffordshire bull terrier – 9
l Breed not recorded – 8
l Border collie – 5
l Alsatian – 4
l Jack Russell – 3
l German shepherd – 2
l Weimaraner – 2
l Boxer – 1
l Golden retriever – 1
l Husky cross – 1
l Japanese akita – 1
l Lurcher cross – 1
l Rottweiler – 1
l West highland terrier – 1
TOTAL – 40