A new Dog Control Bill designed to deal with the other end of the lead, the dog owners themselves, successfully passed its second stage in the House of Lords on Friday (July 9).
A new dog control bill designed to deal with the other end of the lead, the dog owners themselves, successfully passed its second stage in the House of Lords on Friday (July 9).
Liberal Democrat Peer Rupert Redesdale outlined before the Lords his intention to introduce major changes to current dangerous dog legislation, which is widely considered to be one of the most ineffective pieces of government legislation ever brought into force.
These changes include:
- More emphasis on the owner’s responsibilities – The bill supports the principle that it is the owner who has the potential to make a dog either well-behaved or badly-behaved. It gives authorised officers the powers to place dog control notices on irresponsible owners at the first signs of dog aggression.
- Legislation will no longer be breed specific – Since the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, public money and resources have been wasted by already overstretched police authorities seizing dogs simply for being of a particular breed or type. Research now overwhelmingly supports the principle of “deed not breed”, and proves that genetics (breed) play only a limited part in the temperament of an individual dog, with environment and training having a far greater effect.
- Attacks which take place on private property would also become a criminal offence – A large number of dog attack incidents occur within the home and on private property. The Bill includes various exemptions such as being attacked by another animal, provocation, and attacks on individuals committing an offence for which they could be imprisoned.
Lord Redesdale said: “The Control of Dogs Bill has had a successful second stage and is now going to committee in the House of Lords. A number of issues were raised which will have to be dealt with in committee, but all contributions in the debate stressed the need for responsibility on the other end of the lead – with owners.”
Lord Redesdale’s work on the bill is supported by the Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group (DDASG). Group chairman and Dogs Trust veterinary director Chris Laurence said: “The bill focuses on prevention rather than cure, better protects the public and emphasises responsible dog ownership and all members of DDASG are delighted that it has passed its next stage through parliament.”
The Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group has also launched a petition supporting Lord Redesdale’s Dog Control Bill which already has almost 10,000 signatures. Further information on DDASG, Lord Redesdale’s Dog Control Bill and current “dangerous dog” legislation is available at http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/928