UK’s largest dog welfare charity to tell MPs that the Government’s proposed Dangerous Dogs Amendment Bill is hastily drafted, extremely confusing and could end up criminalising responsible dog owners.
The UK’s largest dog welfare charity is to tell MPs that the Government’s proposed Dangerous Dogs Amendment Bill has been hastily drafted, is extremely confusing and could end up criminalising responsible dog owners.
Defra published draft legislation aimed at tackling dangerous dogs on April 9, 2013. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee will hear oral evidence as part of its pre-legislative scrutiny of these proposals tomorrow (April 24) from 3pm.
It will also take evidence on key recommendations from the committee’s Dog Control and Welfare report published in February 2013, which would require legislative measures but are missing from the current draft bill.
Dogs Trust supports EFRACom’s recommendation to consolidate existing legislation and for an overhaul of legislation to take place which focuses more on prevention.
With this in mind, the charity is preparing to give “wake up call” evidence at the EFRA enquiry, during which it will cover the following points:
- Dogs Trust does not believe that, overall, the proposed measures provide a sufficient legislative base to tackle irresponsible dog ownership.
- The need for Dog Control Notices as opposed to just generic measures on anti-social behaviour.
- The charity’s concern with the lack of exemptions regarding dog attacks on private property.
Specifically, although Dogs Trust supports the proposed change to the law to allow an offence to be committed if a lawful visitor is injured by a dog on private property, it is “extremely concerned” that the draft amendment bill does not provide any exemptions from prosecution if the owner is not present at the time a dog attacks a trespasser.
According to the charity, this does not protect responsible owners and their dogs if, for example, a burglar is injured after gaining entry to any non-occupied residential dwelling.
Dogs Trust CEO Clarissa Baldwin said: “It is right that the Government is taking steps to crack down on owners who allow their dogs to injure lawful visitors to their home but if someone is on private property unlawfully then it is absolutely ridiculous that an owner could be prosecuted if their dog injures or attacks that person because the owner isn’t at home.”