Tuesday, 9 March 2010

(Extending the law to private property)Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

In a public consultation launched today, the government is seeking views on whether current legislation relating to dangerous dogs adequately protects the public and encourages responsible dog ownership.

Defra would like to hear from those responsible for enforcing the law relating to dogs, those who have been the victim(s) of dog attacks, animal welfare organisations, veterinarians, dog homes, dog owners and anyone else concerned about dangerous dogs.

You can complete an online survey at:

Or you can obtain a copy of the consultation by contacting 0207 238 5801

The measures that the government would like to explore include:

Extending the law to private property
At the moment the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 only applies to dogs in public places. Yet every year there are a reported 6,000 cases of postmen and women alone being attacked by dogs that are dangerously out of control. Should the dangerous dogs laws be extended to include private property?
Should a home owner be made to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a dog does not put at risk family, friends or anyone else on his property?

Removing or extending the list of banned dogs
Currently there is a list of four types of dogs which are banned. There is evidence that the ability of the owner as well as the dog's training, neutering, sex and age also influence a dog’s behaviour. Sometimes it can also be difficult to tell if a dog is a banned type. Should the list of banned dogs therefore be removed, or extended to include a wider list of breeds?

Introducing dog control orders
Where a dog owner has been shown not to be controlling a dog, there is a proposal for the police, or local authority to issue a dog control order. The control order could contain a number of measures for the dog and owner.
The dog could have to be:
·             muzzled in public
·             kept on a lead in public
·             neutered
·             microchipped
The owner could also have to attend obedience training with the dog. In some cases the dog could be taken away and re-homed.
Would these measures work? In what sort of cases?

Making dog insurance compulsory
Any owner of a banned dog must have insurance against injury to other people. Should this be extended to apply to all dog owners? Would this also apply to dog shelters or rescue homes? What impact would that have?

Microchipping puppies
Microchipping all puppies would mean that the details of microchipped dogs and their owners would be on a database. This would make it easier to track down the owner if a dog was behaving dangerously. Irresponsible dog owners might ignore the law and not microchip their animal. How would the law be enforced, and would it apply to all dogs, or just dangerous breeds?

Your views are welcome so please take some time to take part in the consultation.

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