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New Petition Demands Urgent Dog Law Reform

A new petition has been launched today by leading animal charities, the veterinary profession and trade unions to put pressure on the Government to deliver on its assurances and overhaul dog laws and bring forward new legislation in the Queen’s Speech.

Twenty organisations – including the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, The Blue Cross, the Communication Workers Union and the British Veterinary Association – have launched the petition, which would force a House of Commons debate if more than 100,000 people sign up on the Prime Minister’s official website.

Members of the public can sign the petition by logging on to: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22631

Despite last year’s Defra consultation on dangerous dogs, and assurances from Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the topic, the Government has failed to address what the organisations all agree is inadequate legislation that does not adequately protect the public, worker safety and animal welfare.

The petition demands that the Government brings forward a Bill in the Queen’s Speech next year that consolidates and updates dog control legislation. It is hoped a new Bill would have a greater preventative effect by focussing on owner responsibility, give greater flexibility and discretion to enforcers and the courts, and enhance dog welfare.

The organisations behind the petition believe the current enforcement costs to the public purse are unsustainable and new approaches are needed that prevent incidents. This would save money in the short and long-term.

The public have been urged to sign the petition and share it on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to help reach the 100,000 signatures required to achieve the debate in the House of Commons.

Organisations behind the petition include Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, The Blue Cross, British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), British Veterinary Association (BVA),  Communication Workers Union, Dogs Trust, GMB, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, International Institute of Risk and Safety Management, Kennel Club, National Dog Wardens Association, Police Federation, Prospect, Royal Mail Group, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, RSPCA, UNISON, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, Unite and Wood Green, The Animal Charity.

Each organisation agrees the six key areas that need to be addressed are:

    Consolidation of Legislation: Any Bill must consolidate legislation concerning dog control; give greater flexibility and discretion to enforcers and the courts; include a genuine preventative effect; update some offences; improve public safety and animal welfare; and reduce the costs of enforcement.

    Breed specific legislation: This is not effective in tackling the real cause of the problem, which relates to the owner’s actions or omissions rather than the type of dog concerned. We believe if political will is not there to repeal breed specific legislation, then amendments must be made to ensure better canine welfare and a clear strategy put in place to regularly review, and with the intention of, ultimately phasing out breed specific legislation.

    Private Property: The scope of updated legislation must be extended to cover all places, including private property, to ensure better public safety and animal welfare. It must also provide suitable defences for responsible dog owners, e.g. where someone is attacked and their dog defends them.

    Permanent Identification: To assist with encouraging more responsible dog ownership, all dogs should be permanently identified, such as with a  microchip, so that animals can be matched to their owners and traceability can be improved.

    Better Funding: To support this there needs to be sufficient funding streams for dog wardens and police Dog Legislation Officer (DLO) roles so that the law can be adequately enforced and public safety and animal welfare improvements can be practiced. This will save money for the public purse in the short and long term, for example through savings to the NHS for treating dog-related injuries and costs of kennelling seized dogs.

    Education and engagement: This should go hand-in-hand with any changes to the law and many animal welfare organisations can provide resources for this. However, the Government should play a lead role in coordinating such work, especially within hard to reach areas, and ensuring it is properly evaluated for its effectiveness.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Jill Ellis on Facebook

    November 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Lord redesdales bill had its 3rd reading in the house of Lords in october, and has been passed to the house of commons, not sure it emcompasses all we would like to see in it, but anything that gets rid of BSL has to be an improvement.

  2. Claire

    November 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    About time.

    As a dog trainer and behaviourist I am a firm believer your dog is only as good your training. Dog owners need to be punished for the horrific acts they allow their dogs to undertake.

    More emphasis needs to be on DEED not breed

  3. Jill Ellis on Facebook

    November 21, 2011 at 8:23 am

    a sudden ‘flurry’ after all this time of no action, why is the RSPCA backing a new bill, when Lord Redesdales DCB is about to be read in the house of commons, the above petition does not irradicate BSL,is there a copy of full agenda, read the short version and am ‘concerned’ that its just a money saving scheme.

  4. selwyn marock

    November 22, 2011 at 6:32 am

    There is only one way to get these Slackers off their butts and that is to contact them personally and advise them not to expect your vote at the next election and that this campaign is to be aimed at all the Decent Human Beings that are Animal-Lovers.
    Otherwise one will have to wait another 20 years.
    BSL MUST GO.

  5. Jill Ellis on Facebook

    November 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I did write to my MP, and the Defra minister no reply from her YET. my MP was very unsympathetic, and even went as far as to tell me that he doesnt understand why anyone would want to own dogs bred purely for fighting AND HUNTING and he wouldnt be looking to take up my concerns over BSL as the only thing he can find wrong with it was the the law wasnt enforced enough, and perhaps a few innocent dogs died to protect us all from the vicious pit bulltypes roaming our streets, I have not replied to him YET, am still considering my reply,

    • selwyn marock

      November 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      Sounds like your M.P. is just another Moron that is living off the fat of the land,he should be removed from a position of power and have to work like the rest of us.

    • selwyn marock

      November 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      Sounds like your M.P. is just another Moron that is living off the fat of the land,he should be removed from a position of power and have to work like the rest of us.

  6. Tracy

    February 22, 2012 at 3:47 am

    It is about time the law and general public realised it is not the dog or its breed that is the problem but the owner.The dangerous dogs act punishes the dog and type of dog. Until we realise it is people that are the fundamental problem that train/abuse “would be family pets” into tramatised animals we will never make a difference.
    We need to punish the abusers and stop them from ever owning a dog in the future, for not only the publics sake but for the animals sake!

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