Battersea Dogs and Cats Home welcomes legislation but calls on Government to look deeper into dangerous dogs problem.
New legislation affecting all dog owners in England comes into force today.
The Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act is set to clamp down on those who allow their dog to be dangerously out of control or a nuisance in their communities.
It will also close the loophole in the law that excludes dog attacks in people’s homes.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, one of the leading groups calling for more responsible dog ownership, welcomes the extension of dog laws to private property, and new maximum penalties for dangerous dog offences.
However, in the face of a six per cent rise in hospital admissions for dog attacks over the past 12 months, Battersea believes the only effective way to reduce attacks of the most vulnerable in our society is to provide earlier intervention and better education on responsible dog ownership.
Dog-related issues are just one small part of the new Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act and the charity is concerned many local authorities will lack the resource and expertise to effectively enforce the new laws and respond to dog issues before they escalate.
Battersea’s director of communications Dee McIntosh said: “This new legislation is a step in the right direction.
“However, Battersea is calling on the Government to look deeper into the dangerous dogs problem and better equip our local authorities to tackle the minority of irresponsible dog owners who blight our communities.”
Battersea cares for nearly 6,000 dogs a year, and sees hundreds of dogs that have been abused and in some cases bred to fight.
Ms McIntosh added: “We believe if more people understood how to care for and be around dogs, there would be far fewer tragic incidents.
“Dog attacks tear apart our communities and affect how we feel about pets and specific dog breeds.
“Any dog, no matter what size or breed, can attack a child, adult or another dog.
“Training and caring for an animal, and being able to clearly read a dog’s body language, are the only ways to help provide safety for the likely victims of attacks, especially children.”