The House of Lords has given its full backing to a long awaited overhaul of the Dangerous Dogs Act as the Dog Control Bill successfully passed through all stages in the Lords.
Lord Redesdale’s Bill, which proposes to replace failed dangerous dog legislation with effective preventative regulation, including Dog Control Notices, and extending legislation to cover both public and private places, was supported by the Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group (DDASG).
DDASG represents animal welfare groups, local authorities and veterinary professional organisations which include Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, The Blue Cross, British Veterinary Association, Dogs Trust, the Kennel Club, Mayhew Animal Home, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Wandsworth Borough Council and Wood Green Animal Shelters.
Wandsworth Dog Control Service Manager and DDASG Chairman, Mark Callis said: “Our members all know from personal experience that the aggressive, problematic dogs are always the ones which have been treated badly, neglected, or, in some of the worst cases, deliberately trained to intimidate others. This Bill would give us the powers we need to tackle the root cause of the country’s dangerous dog issues – bad owners.”
The Commons will now continue the debate as the Bill moves on in its passage through the parliamentary process.
Following the success of the Third Reading of the Bill, Lord Redesdale commented: “I am delighted to have been part of this movement to push for the revision of existing dangerous dogs legislation.
“By introducing preventative measures, such as dog control orders, problem behaviour can be addressed before more serious incidents take place. This will go a long way towards protecting the public and ensuring responsible dog ownership for the benefit of all.“
In support of the Bill, DDASG launched a petition which has now received over 10,000 signatures. The petition can be found here.
The Bill forms part of a call by all leading animal welfare organisations, trade unions, and enforcement bodies to urgently review failed dog control legislation and find solutions to irresponsible dog ownership.
For more information on DDASG, Lord Redesdale’s Dog Control Bill and current legislation click here.
The Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group:
The Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group (DDASG) is a wide-ranging group representing animal welfare, local authorities and veterinary professional organisations and includes representation from:
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
The Blue Cross
British Veterinary Association
Mayhew Animal Home
RoyalCollegeof Veterinary Surgeons
Wandsworth Borough Council
Wood Green Animal Shelters
The Dog Control Bill is a tough new piece of legislation to replace the failed Dangerous Dogs Act and is supported by the DDASG. Specifically, the Bill would look to change the following:
Repeal all existing ‘dangerous dogs’ legislation including breed specific legislation
The police expend significant resources on enforcement of the Dangerous Dogs Act, with large amounts of money being spent on the seizure and kennelling of dogs simply because of their breed type – many of which are returned to their owners once proved to be of good temperament.
Removing breed specific legislation would allow those resources to be used more effectively elsewhere, and preferably to concentrate on those dogs showing unprovoked aggression.
Introduce Dog Control Notices
The vast majority of dog attacks are as a result of the irresponsible actions of dog owners, who have either not taken the time and trouble to train their dog correctly, or have indeed trained them to behave aggressively.
Dog Control Notices will apply to all types of dog that have acted dangerously without provocation, caused an injury to another protected animal (as defined by the Animal Welfare Act 2006), caused harm, or caused a person to reasonably believe it will cause harm, and works to prevent serious incidents of aggression occurring by allowing preventative action.
Apply to both public and private places
A large proportion of dog attacks occur in the home and involve a dog that is known to the victim. The Dog Control Bill will make attacks on private property a criminal offence.
Greater responsibility is therefore placed on owners to ensure that their dogs are not out of control in any place.
It is not acceptable for an owner to allow their dog to behave aggressively either in the home or in a public place.
The Bill does however include exemptions to cover circumstances such as an attack or aggression as a result of an attack by another animal, or on a person whilst that person is committing an offence.