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2 April, 2012

London's Deputy Mayor 'surprised' to hear primary pupils share his concerns about dangerous dogs

On 23 March, year five pupils at Brecknock Primary School in Camden questioned Kit Malthouse about dangerous dogs. The day before, five Metropolitan Police officers were injured in a dog attack in Newham.

Kit Malthouse is London's Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. Pupils invited him to their school as part of their Go-Givers campaign, which is called 'Staffie as softie' and focuses on dogs as weapons.

Londons Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse meets children from Brecknock Primary School in Camden
London's Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse meets children from Brecknock Primary School in Camden

Pupils interviewed Mr Malthouse with questions such as ‘is putting dogs to sleep a good resolution?'

One pupil challenged the comparison of keeping pets and having children: ‘you wouldn't put a child to sleep if it hit another child', they said.

Mr Malthouse took the children seriously. 'If it's important to you', he said, 'then, as a politician, I feel that I am doing the right thing.'

The Deputy Mayor was 'surprised' that children are concerned about the issue, and invited the class to contribute to the consultation process for the Dangerous Dogs Bill.

'When it gets in and the Queen signs it into law you'll know you've had a part in changing the law of the land', he told them.

'It's important young people like you are taking an interest in some of these issues and how we can build a better city.

'You are picking some quite big tasks', he said, 'thinking about the rules needed for living together in our city, not just taking from it.'

The children's 'Staffie as Softie' campaign started in January. It tries to address the issue of dogs as weapons and the resulting animal welfare concerns.

The young campaigners polled their school, ran a poster campaign on responsible pet ownership and filmed a mix of pupils' opinions.

They showed their video to pupils from 25 other schools at the V&A on 22 March, during a celebration event for our Make a Difference Challenge.

The Go-Givers Make a Difference Challenge engages primary school children in community issues.


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