SAV Comment – Good to see politicians waking up to ’dangerous dogs’ if there are really such a thing; but are there actually any ‘dangerous dogs’ or simply ‘dangerous people’ who happen to own a dog ? – whilst as a Uk dog owner myself I support that every dog should be microchipped and logged on a national database; and in most cases, sterilised at a suitable age to reduce the number of dogs continually being made homeless and ending up in shelters; I also feel that the ’owners’ which abuse their animals by causing them to fight and intimidate other law abiding people and dogs are the very people who WILL NOT BOTHER to register their dogs, microchip them, sterilise them or take out any insurance should their animal cause harm to others. Thse people are the sorts who simply do not care about much in life at all. So are these proposals simply targetting the already law abiding dog owners of the Uk whilst once again doing very little / nothing to actually target the very people who should be hit hard ? – the fighting dog owners who now use their dogs as weapons to threaten others whilst giving two fingers to government legislation and the welfare of animals ? – most probably.
It will soon be (Uk) election time, so as always, the politicians are now dreaming up new ideas and proposals for things which ‘they have been very concerned about for some time’. This week it is the turn of angry dogs; next week it will be the turn of what ?, angry current buns !
An electoral stunt ? – for sure.
Targetting the right people ? – absolutely not.
Hitting responsible dog owners ? – you bet.
Hitting irresponsible dog owners ? – Never; they dont give a damn about anything, so why change with new legislation proposals ?
Any real thought by the politicians into these proposals ? – give us a break please !
Mark – SAV.
‘Insurance for all’ plan for dogs
All dog owners in England and Wales would have to insure against their pet attacking someone under Labour proposals to tackle dangerous breeds.
Police and local authorities could also be given powers to force owners of dangerous dogs to muzzle them or even get them neutered.
Ministers say the consultation responds to concerns about the use of animals to intimidate or threaten people.
Each week, more than 100 people are admitted to hospital after dog attacks.
There has also been a reported rise in levels of dog fighting and illegal ownership, particularly by gangs who are using dangerous dogs as status symbols.
Coming a few weeks before a general election is expected, the government has launched a consultation on amending the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act.
This legislation banned ownership of four types: the pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the dogo Argentino and the fila Brasileiro.
It also gave police powers to deal with any dogs, of whatever breed, that became out of control in a public place – with destruction of the animal the ultimate sanction.
“ Thousands of our members are attacked at work every year. This reform cannot come soon enough ”
Billy Hayes General secretary, CWU
But if a dog not on the banned list of types causes an injury on private property – such as someone’s home – it is not covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Instead, owners have to be pursued under the Dogs Act of 1871, which is seen as more time-consuming and complicated.
The government’s consultation suggests extending the 1991 legislation to private property.
Ministers argue this will also protect postal workers, telecoms engineers and other people whose work takes them on to private land.
Another proposal is to introduce compulsory third-party insurance for dog owners to ensure attack victims are compensated.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said he was concerned that some owners were keeping dogs with the sole purpose of intimidating other people.
He told BBC News: “What most dog owners recognise is that what’s going on is cruelty to animals.
“Other dogs are being treated abysmally because of this fashion for ‘status dogs’, which has been the main issue over the last five or six years.”
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: “There is a lot of public concern about dog attacks, including the recent tragic deaths of young children, and about the rise in the number of so-called status dogs used to intimidate or threaten people.
“This is a serious issue of public safety. The government wants to hear what people think about the law as it stands and what more we might do to protect people from dangerous dogs.”
The CWU postal union welcomed the proposals as “long overdue”, with general secretary Billy Hayes saying: “Thousands of our members are attacked at work every year. This reform cannot come soon enough.”
The RSPCA said a serious debate on the issue was needed, concentrating on curbing irresponsible pet ownership.
The charity’s government relations manager, Claire Robinson, said: “There is a real need for updated legislation that enables enforcers to tackle the problem effectively and prevent serious incidents from occurring rather than waiting till after a tragedy or penalising certain dogs just because of their breed or type.”
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said penalties for dangerous dog offences had to be “sensible” and that any changes to the law had to be “simple and strong”.
Peter Tallack, a former Metropolitan Police dog handler, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that owners of dangerous dogs had “a lack of understanding of what potential they’ve got on their hands”.
“It’s become a major problem now. It’s become a bit of a cult.
“It’s very difficult for the police. With all the resources in the world we couldn’t tackle the problem at the moment.”
He added: “I don’t think there’s a choice other than dog registration over the next few years.”
The proposed insurance plan would not apply in Scotland. However, a backbench bill proposed by the SNP’s Christine Grahame is currently being examined by the Scottish Parliament.
The Control of Dogs Bill would allow councils to impose restrictions on owners who failed to control their pets.
Published: 2010/03/09 13:28:55 GMT