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Council’s crackdown on ‘dangerous’ dogs

ANOTHER LOCAL authority has threatened to evict dog owners who own ‘dangerous’ breeds of dog. Irresponsible dog owners will be thrown out of their council homes, according to Edward Lister, the Leader of Wandsworth Council, south London.

Councillor Lister said the council would use its landlord powers to stop housing estate residents keeping ‘fighting’ dogs uncontrolled in their homes.

He said the tough rules would extend to dogs found in the homes, even if visitors or family members rather than the tenant owned them.

Councillor Lister said the rules would be used to protect neighbours and residents from intimidating behaviour.

He said the council was also pushing for wider powers to control dangerous animals, including bringing back the dog licence for breeds including Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasiliera and currently unregulated breeds that cause the most problems -Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bullmastiffs, Douges de Bordeaux and Rottweilers.

Leaving aside the fact that Pit Bulls, Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Fila Brasileras are already illegal under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, the council did not explain how it intended to bring in its own licensing laws.

‘The problem is that just about anyone can own a dog,’ Councillor Lister said. ‘Most of the problems we have today are caused by young people aged between 13 and 17 who keep these menacing dogs yet have no understanding of the responsibilities of ownership.’

Councillor Lister also appeared to set himself up as arbiter of what a ‘realistic’ dog licence fee should be, adding: ‘Any new licensing scheme would have to be properly funded - that's why it's important to set the fee at a realistic rate.

‘Given the money that people are prepared to spend on these dogs I really don't see why we should not be looking at a licence fee of around £500.

‘A borough like Wandsworth with a dedicated dog control unit and a 24-hour hot line for worried residents would be a perfect place to trial a new scheme.’

Several local dog owners who own Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Rottweilers objected angrily to the council’s plans in the ‘Readers Comments’ sections of various online local newspaper reports on the subject.

Meanwhile, the move was condemned by anti Breed Specific legislation groups. One campaigner dismissed Mr Lister’s comments saying ‘What a silly councillor’.