Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567

New calls for dog ban in Welsh council homes


‘I don’t want to see an immediate ban on dogs. It should be phased in over a period of time. People get very attached to these things, but there is a dog problem.’

FOLLOWING THE ill-conceived and illegal ban on so-called ‘dangerous’ dog breeds owned by council house residents in Dublin, it was perhaps only a matter before a politician on the UK mainland would call for a similar ban.

This dubious ‘honour’ goes to Mawr councillor Ioan Richard wants Swansea City and County Council to follow the ‘lead’ of Dublin City Council and ban 10 breeds of dog from council-owned property.

Impossible

Independent Councillor Richard raised the possibility with the council's legal team and was told that it would be impossible to do under current UK legislation.

However, Cllr Richard was not to be dissuaded and was ‘keen’ to see a ban enacted and called upon the Welsh Assembly to act and change the law to allow Welsh councils to implement such breed specific bans, by using secondary legislation.

Quoted in the local press, Cllr Richard said: ‘We regularly hear about young children being savaged by these types of dogs like pit bulls. People do not really need to keep these types of dog and I think this policy is something that should be seriously considered.

‘The council’s legal team has told me that we cannot do it. But the Assembly now has powers to make secondary legislation and I think they should start to use them.

‘They should be looking at doing the small things first and things that can make a real difference to the people of Wales.’

Dogs banned in Dublin include American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Dobermanns, Rhodesian ridgebacks, Japanese Akitas and Japanese Tosas.

Cllr Richard’s remarks caused outrage amongst dog owners not just in Swansea, but also around the world. The Kennel Club condemned his remarks and said that they would be writing to Cllr Richard, Swansea Council and also to the Welsh Assembly to point out that BSL does not work.
A KC spokesperson told OUR DOGS: ‘This is a very worrying development but we hope that good sense will prevail. We are writing to the councillor and will be staying in contact with the Welsh Assembly on the matter.’

On the record

OUR DOGS Chief Reporter Nick Mays made direct contact with Councillor Richard on Monday of this week to ask him whether he stood by his comments and, indeed, whether he fully understood the implications of what he was talking about.

Asked whether his calls for council tenants to be deprived of their dogs could be seen as discrimination, Cllr Richard replied: ‘Hmm, yes, I suppose it could be, but it’s something we should consider in the light of dog attacks on children.’

But as the dog attacks to which the Councillor referred were isolated incidents, was the approach of a wholesale ban unfair and an insult to the vast majority of responsible dog owners?

‘Unfortunately yes, but I feel the over-caution is necessary,’ said Cllr Richard. ‘Children have been savaged, and that’s not right. Why, I’ve been out delivering leaflets and some of these dogs I’ve seen have been quite terrifying. People can be attacked at these dogs’ homes.’

It was put to Cllr Richard that rather than call for a total ban on different breeds, why not use the existing laws to punish irresponsible dog owners who allowed their dogs to attack people? Cllr Richard was presumably aware of the 1871 Dogs Act which allowed for prosecution for dog attacks on private premises, council owned or otherwise?

‘Er no, no, I don’t know about that law,’ he admitted.

So rather than pontificate about introducing legislation that affects responsible dog owners in such a draconian way, would it not have been advisable for the councillor to check out the existing legal situation, and for him to maybe put pressure upon the council and local police to instigate prosecutions against genuinely irresponsible dog owners?

‘Well. You could say that, yes, maybe,’ said Cllr Richard, ‘But animals can be dangerous. I’ve owned a Rhodesian Ridgeback and he was a lovely soft dog, but I was brought up on a farm and animals can turn. On my grandfather’s farm a horse killed one of the men who worked there.’
But no one at the time suggested bringing in a law to ban horses?

‘Well no, of course not. But I don’t want to see an immediate ban on dogs. It should be phased in over a period of time. People get very attached to these things, but there is a dog problem. Do you know, a friend of mine was delivering leaflets and he got bitten.’

So because the councillor’s friend was bitten and because he was himself scared by a dog, then hundreds of well-behaved family pets should be banned?

The councillor ducked this question but offered a little story by way of justification: ‘There’s a woman lives round here, in an isolated house. She has three of those big black and orange dogs, what do you call them? Rottweilers, that’s it. She takes them for a walk every day and they drag her along, but they’ve never bitten anyway, they’re like those lovely floppy, friendly labradors or spaniels but occasionally they must break off. Someone told me one day that two of the three were off the lead and had a fight with each other. The woman pulled them under control, no-one was bitten, but what if they had bitten a child?’

It was put to Cllr Richard that every dog had the potential to scrap with another dog, even friendly, floppy labradors, as this reporter has personal experience of, but was this reason to try to enact discriminatory legislation to penalise responsible owners?

Councillor Richard thought for a second or two before relying: ‘Er – you could say that. But I’ve got to go now. What was the name of your magazine again? Our Dogs, yes, I see. And who is writing to me? The Kennel Club? I see. Well, it’s been nice to chat.’

OUR DOGS is heartened that some of the UK’s politicians – at local as well as national level – take the time and trouble to gain an understanding of dogs and how legislation affects them.

We fervently hope that one of these politicians will make contact with Councillor Ioan Richard.
Soon.

Cllr Richard’s remarks caused outrage amongst dog owners not just in Swansea, but also around the world. The Kennel Club condemned his remarks and said that they would be writing to Cllr Richard, Swansea Council and also to the Welsh Assembly to point out that BSL does not work.
A KC spokesperson told OUR DOGS:

‘This is a very worrying development but we hope that good sense will prevail. We are writing to the councillor and will be staying in contact with the Welsh Assembly on the matter.’

On the record

OUR DOGS Chief Reporter Nick Mays made direct contact with Councillor Richard on Monday of this week to ask him whether he stood by his comments and, indeed, whether he fully understood the implications of what he was talking about.

Asked whether his calls for council tenants to be deprived of their dogs could be seen as discrimination, Cllr Richard replied: ‘Hmm, yes, I suppose it could be, but it’s something we should consider in the light of dog attacks on children.’

But as the dog attacks to which the Councillor referred were isolated incidents, was the approach of a wholesale ban unfair and an insult to the vast majority of responsible dog owners?

‘Unfortunately yes, but I feel the over-caution is necessary,’ said Cllr Richard. ‘Children have been savaged, and that’s not right. Why, I’ve been out delivering leaflets and some of these dogs I’ve seen have been quite terrifying. People can be attacked at these dogs’ homes.’

It was put to Cllr Richard that rather than call for a total ban on different breeds, why not use the existing laws to punish irresponsible dog owners who allowed their dogs to attack people? Cllr Richard was presumably aware of the 1871 Dogs Act which allowed for prosecution for dog attacks on private premises, council owned or otherwise?

‘Er no, no, I don’t know about that law,’ he admitted.

So rather than pontificate about introducing legislation that affects responsible dog owners in such a draconian way, would it not have been advisable for the councillor to check out the existing legal situation, and for him to maybe put pressure upon the council and local police to instigate prosecutions against genuinely irresponsible dog owners?

‘Well. You could say that, yes, maybe,’ said Cllr Richard, ‘But animals can be dangerous. I’ve owned a Rhodesian Ridgeback and he was a lovely soft dog, but I was brought up on a farm and animals can turn. On my grandfather’s farm a horse killed one of the men who worked there.’
But no one at the time suggested bringing in a law to ban horses?

‘Well no, of course not. But I don’t want to see an immediate ban on dogs. It should be phased in over a period of time. People get very attached to these things, but there is a dog problem. Do you know, a friend of mine was delivering leaflets and he got bitten.’

So because the councillor’s friend was bitten and because he was himself scared by a dog, then hundreds of well-behaved family pets should be banned?

The councillor ducked this question but offered a little story by way of justification: ‘There’s a woman lives round here, in an isolated house. She has three of those big black and orange dogs, what do you call them? Rottweilers, that’s it. She takes them for a walk every day and they drag her along, but they’ve never bitten anyway, they’re like those lovely floppy, friendly labradors or spaniels but occasionally they must break off. Someone told me one day that two of the three were off the lead and had a fight with each other. The woman pulled them under control, no-one was bitten, but what if they had bitten a child?’

It was put to Cllr Richard that every dog had the potential to scrap with another dog, even friendly, floppy labradors, as this reporter has personal experience of, but was this reason to try to enact discriminatory legislation to penalise responsible owners?

Nice chat

Councillor Richard thought for a second or two before relying: ‘Er – you could say that. But I’ve got to go now. What was the name of your magazine again? Our Dogs, yes, I see. And who is writing to me? The Kennel Club? I see. Well, it’s been nice to chat.’

OUR DOGS is heartened that some of the UK’s politicians – at local as well as national level – take the time and trouble to gain an understanding of dogs and how legislation affects them.
We fervently hope that one of these politicians will make contact with Councillor Ioan Richard.
Soon.