THE number of dangerous and banned dogs destroyed by police across East Lancashire has risen by almost half in the past three years.

New figures obtained by the Lancashire Telegraph show that in 2011, 20 had to be put down after seizure by officers under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Last year that total had risen to 29.

It follows the Telegraph revealing a similar increase in the number of dogs destroyed by Blackburn with Darwen Council after being collected wandering the borough’s streets by its wardens – 34 in 2012/2013.

The rise was put down to an increasing fashion for hostile looking dogs with some owners training their pets to be so aggressive they become uncontrollable and have to be abandoned.

A Freedom of Information request to Lancashire police revealed officers seized 25 dogs under dangerous dog legislation in 2011.

Of these, 13 were seized in the Eastern Division covering Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley and Hyndburn and 12 in Pennine Division covering Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.

From these dogs, 20 were put down – 12 in Eastern Division and eight in Pennine.

In 2012, 40 dogs were taken under the act – 21 in Eastern and 19 in Pennine.

A total of 23 were destroyed for being banned breeds or too dangerous to rehome. Of these 11 were from Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley and Hyndburn and 12 from Burnley, Pendle or Rossendale.

By 2013, the number of seizures by the police had risen to 42 across East Lancashire.

Of the 22 taken by officers in Eastern Division, 19 had to be destroyed and of the 20 in Pennine, 10 were put down.

The Lancashire police figures for Dangerous Dogs Act seizures mirrored the trend seen by Blackburn with Darwen Council dog wardens.

The number of animals being destroyed by the council, with 34 put down in 2012/2013 contrasted with just nine in 2009/10.

Twenty-six of those were judged to be a banned breed, or too aggressive to be rehomed. The others were deemed too ill by vets.

Owners can be prosecuted if they are found to have abandoned their dog without ensuring its welfare.

The number of stray dogs collected by council wardens actually dropped in each of the four years for which figures were provided, from 412 in 2009/10 to 337 last year, but the amount being put down has increased sharply.

Nine were destroyed in 2009/10 and 13 in 2010/11 38 in 2011/12 and 34 in 2012/2013.

Tony Watson, head of environmental services at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said of the borough figures: “As an authority we do everything in our power to rehome stray dogs.

“Putting them down is a last resort.”