The last government launched a consultation on toughening existing laws to protect the public from out of control dogs. That ended in June 2010. Since then, more than 12,000 people have received hospital treatment for dog bites. Yet only now has the Government set out some proposals.
Britain's top vet has warned that there are now more pit bulls in London than when the animals were banned under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. The Metropolitan Police seized 1152 out of control dogs last year compared to just 27 in 2004/5 and spent over £2 million kennelling seized dogs.
The long awaited proposals include:
- Extending dangerous dog laws to all private property
- Consultation on whether breeders should be required to micro-chip dogs.
- Giving the police more discretion to take decisions on seizing and kenneling dogs.
Providing £50,000 to animal charities to promote more responsible dog ownership in areas where they have high instances of dog-related problems
The Government’s proposals have been rubbished by dog and animal welfare charities, postal workers and the police, because there is no timetable for implementation. And, more importantly, the Government has dropped plans for Dog Control Notices and for the greater powers originally suggested to tackle irresponsible owners and backstreet breeders.
The RSPCA criticised the Government’s proposals, saying “these measures not only lack bite, they raise major questions about how exactly they expect to effectively tackle the danger of irresponsible ownership to both people and animals.”
The Government is making the right noises on a phased introduction of micro-chipping and on extending the law to attacks on private property but, bluntly, the package is half-baked and does nothing to act quickly on to tackle irresponsible ownership.
How many more people are going to be seriously injured before tough action is taken?