Dog Control Bill

 

The Lord Redesdale has tabled a Private Members Bill named the Dog Control Bill which seeks to repeal the Dogs Act 1871, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997. This would remove breed specific legislation, introduce Dog Control Notices to apply to all types of dog that have acted dangerously without provocation, caused injury to another animal, caused harm, or caused a person to reasonably believe it will cause harm and would apply to both public and private places.

Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group

The Kennel Club is part of the Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group (DDASG), a wide-ranging group representing animal welfare, local authorities and veterinary professional organisations which includes Battersea Dogs Home, Blue Cross, The Mayhew Animal Home, British Veterinary Association, Dogs Trust, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Wandsworth Borough Council and Wood Green Animal Shelters.

The DDASG consider that the Dangerous Dogs Act needs to be overhauled to better protect the public and that a new dog control regime that emphasises responsible dog ownership should be introduced.

Lord Redesdale's Private Members Bill embodies the principle of 'deed not breed' and opposes breed specific legislation on the grounds that a dog's behaviour is influenced more by its environment, the training it receives and the responsibility of its owner, than it is by genetics (i.e. its breed or type).

This is supported by recent research by Bristol University which found that Bull breeds (which includes the banned breed Pit Bull) are no more likely to be aggressive than any other breed.

Intentions of the Bill

Specifically, the Bill would look to change the following:

  • 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 places. It is not acceptable for an owner to allow their dog to behave aggressively either in the home or out 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.

  • Repeal the Dogs Act 1871, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997 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.

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Dangerous Dogs Act Study GroupDog Control Bill

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