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New bid to overhaul dog laws
Stricter control on fighting dogs and dog attacks


A Bill is being tabled in the House of Lords that will make attacks on private property an offence and will outlaw breeding or keeping dogs for fighting.

Dangerous dogs have been controlled by legislation since the 1870s but the latest act, brought about in 1991 after a spate of attacks on people, has never been popular and campaigners have long been calling for change.

The Kennel Club says the current law is draconian, severely flawed and a does little to protect the public. The organisation has worked with Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Redesdale on the Dog Control Act which will be tabled in Parliament later.

Changes

If passed the Bill will introduce three major changes to current dangerous dogs legislation:
· Instead of banning specific breeds of dog, the dog’s behaviour – as well as its treatment by its owner – will be used to determine if it is a risk to public safety.

· Instead of applying only to attacks that take place in public, the Bill will also make attacks on private property a criminal offence.

· It would be an offence to breed dogs for fighting or to keep a dog that has been used for fighting.

the KC’s Caroline Kisko told us: “The Kennel Club has been working with Lord Redesdale and a number of other organisations to provide assistance and advice in drafting his Bill. The current legislation is draconian and severely flawed, and does little to protect the public. Lord Redesdale’s proposals are measured and would do what the Dangerous Dogs Act should have done in the first place, which is to target irresponsible owners.”

Lord Redesdale commented: “The Dangerous Dogs Act is a bad piece of legislation that places the responsibility on dogs, this Bill puts the responsibility on the owners themselves. This should address the problem on our streets and go some way in combating the growing culture of using dogs as weapons.”

Edward Lister, Council Leader of Wandsworth Borough Council, which is a member of the DDASG said: “The head of our dog unit has been working hard with the other members of the Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group to think through the best way to enable police and local councils to tackle this problem. We can no longer just allow people to own these dogs and let them act in an aggressive way. Something has to be done. We believe the measures outlined in this Bill are the best way forward. Together with our new dog microchipping scheme, they would go a long way towards tackling this problem.”

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