A meeting of dangerous dog experts led by The Kennel Club (KC) has started to work towards a strategy for reducing dog bite incidents in the UK.
Following the meeting – which took place on Monday (January 26) – the group is to develop a proposal that will incorporate the need for a robust central database for the investigation of dog bite incidents, which can be fed into by relevant parties including vets, medics, the police and dog wardens. This, said the KC, will provide crucial data on the causes of dog bites, enabling more preventive measures to be implemented, such as required training for any dog that shows early signs of aggression.
Also included in the proposed strategy will be the need to treat dog aggression as a public health issue and the importance of educating dog owners, the general public, children and educators on responsible dog ownership and how to safely interact with dogs.
KC secretary Caroline Kisko said dog bites are “clearly a public health issue”.
“To ensure both public safety and dog welfare remain paramount we need to make changes to this country’s strategy on dogs that are allowed to be out of control,” she said. “It is absolutely crucial we get it right to avoid a further increase in dog bite incidents.
“We believe the key to this is through gathering data on incidents as they happen through immediate and thorough investigation, so genuinely preventive measures can be put in place and the law can be overhauled to reflect this.”
On the education part of the strategy, Ms Kisko said the majority of recorded incidents involve children in some way, so educating them from an early age is “crucial”.
“There are initiatives and information resources that exist already, such as the KC’s Safe and Sound programme and Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme, as well as the Pet Education Resources Group,” she said. “But we would like to see a more unified education programme to reduce dog bite incidents.”
Ms Kisko said the KC was “overwhelmed” by the turnout at the meeting.
“We are glad all relevant stakeholders are keen to move forward together on this important issue,” she said. “The meeting was very much the first step in pushing for a new strategy on dangerous dogs and we are particularly appreciative for the support of our speakers at the meeting, who delivered effective arguments for why we need urgent change.”
For more information, visit the KC’s website.