Groups Call on Prime Minister for Improved Dog Laws

(BVA Release) The British Veterinary Association, some of the UK’s largest animal charities, law enforcement agencies and unions have jointly called on the leaders of the main political parties to work together to introduce improved and updated legislation to protect dog welfare and public safety.

The 20 groups have come together to demand action against irresponsible dog owners by the Government and the provision of necessary resources for those tasked with policing dog control laws.

It comes ahead of the summary of responses from Defra’s consultation on dog legislation which is expected this autumn. The consultation received more than 4,000 responses by the time it closed in June, indicating the scale of interest in the subject.

The statement will be sent to Prime Minister David Cameron MP, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP and acting leader of the opposition Harriet Harman MP.

The statement says: “We believe that irresponsible dog ownership, whether it is allowing dogs to stray, be dangerously out of control or indiscriminately breeding them, causes significant problems for the safety and welfare of both humans and animals. Current legislation is proving inadequate in many cases to ensure sufficient protection.

“We believe that both the provision of sufficient resources at a local level for local authorities and the police, and updated and consolidated legislation that has a genuine preventative effect, are needed to address this problem.

“We call on the coalition Government to act and bring forward legislation that addresses these areas effectively.”

BVA President Professor Bill Reilly added:

“The Government must not ignore this overwhelming call for action to protect dog welfare and public safety.

“The problems caused by dangerous dogs will never be solved until dog owners appreciate that they are responsible for the actions of their animals. The BVA believes very strongly in the principle of deed not breed – targeting dogs for their actions, not what they look like – and new legislation must tackle the actions of irresponsible pet owners that can cause dogs to become aggressive. Current legislation is not tackling irresponsible owners who increasingly put the public and other animals at risk.

“Compulsory microchipping – and an effective and workable registration system – should be put in place for all dogs, not only to reunite stray dogs with their owners, but also to help prevent puppy farming and to promote responsible ownership.

“I cannot stress too strongly that responsible ownership is the key to resolving the issue of dangerous dogs.”

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Organisations signed up to the statement include:

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, The Blue Cross, The British Horse Society, British Veterinary Association (BVA), CIEH (Chartered Institute for Environmental Health), Communication Workers Union (CWU), Dogs Trust, GMB, Guide Dogs for the Blind, IIRSM (International Institute of Risk and Safety Management), Kennel Club, The Mayhew Animal Home, National Dog Warden Association (NDWA), PDSA, Police Federation, Prospect, RSPCA, TUC (Trades Union Congress), UNISON, UNITE.

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