Proposed legislation which would make the annual registration of
all dogs a legal requirement is likely to be ineffective, the
Kennel Club has warned. A Ten Minute Rule Bill on the issue is set
to receive its second reading debate in parliament tomorrow (9
Instead, the UK's largest organisation dedicated to the health and
welfare of dogs believes that preventative measures based on
responsible dog ownership would be far better to tackle the issue
of dog control.
The Dogs (Registration) Bill, put forward by Julie Hilling, MP for
Bolton West, would require all dogs to be registered annually with
the intention that income raised from registration would fund
enforcement of conditions and penalties imposed on those who own
dogs and fail to control them.
Whilst the Kennel Club supports the principle of a funding stream
for enforcement, it does not support annual registration as a means
of achieving this. The Kennel Club does not believe that a
significant funding stream would be created this way, taking into
account the low compliance of dog licensing elsewhere in the UK,
such as in Northern Ireland, and the huge costs associated with
administering such a scheme.
Instead the Kennel Club would like to see an overhaul of current
dog control legislation, to update and consolidate existing laws to
bring in more preventative measures to protect the public and dog
welfare. This view is supported by a recent report by the
All-Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare (APGAW) sub-group
for dogs, supported by all major dog welfare organisations, which
views updating and consolidating current legislation as the way
forward in developing an effective England-wide strategy to protect
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "Sadly, this Bill
appears to be a reaction to a fatal dog attack in Julie Hilling's
constituency. Whilst dog attacks that cause fatalities are a
tragedy, they are also very rare and we don't believe that
knee-jerk legislation should be the response - it was this approach
that led to the highly flawed and much-criticised Dangerous Dogs
Act in the first place.
"In the vast majority of fatal dog attacks, which in themselves
are extremely rare, the dog's owner is known to the victim, meaning
that registration details would not be required to identify the
owner anyway, so we do not believe that incidents of this type
would be prevented in future this way.
"One of the other reasons cited for introducing this Bill is that
dog registration is used in other European countries to reduce the
number of stray dogs, which is why the Kennel Club has fully
supported the introduction of compulsory microchipping which, if
enforced properly, will mean that all dogs will be able to be
traced back to their current owner.
"A far more effective method of dealing with dog control issues
would be to focus on preventative measures which would tackle the
situations that create dangerous dogs in the first place.
This would rightly place focus on the owner, and on the need to
properly train and socialise dogs from the very start of their
lives, no matter what the breed or 'type' of dog, to ensure that
they become functioning members of society.
"So whilst the Kennel Club certainly agrees with the aspects of
the Bill that focus on the need for better preventative and
educational measures to be put in place to reduce instances of dog
aggression, we fail to see how compulsory dog registration would
address this, particularly given the upcoming introduction of
Information on the Kennel Club's political work can be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/kccampaigns.