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‘A MISSED opportunity’ is how the BVA and several animal welfare charities have described government proposals to tackle irresponsible dog ownership in England.
Commenting on the launch of a consultation on four specific proposals that the Government said were designed to ‘more adequately protect the public from dangerous dogs and to encourage more responsible dog ownership’, the BVA and BSAVA said that an opportunity to overhaul the dangerous dogs legislation had been missed.
Introducing the Government's consultation package on April 23, Jim Paice, the minister of state for agriculture and food, said that irresponsible dog ownership was a complex problem, with no single solution. He noted growing concern about the number of dog attacks on people and that responses to an earlier consultation exercise in 2010 had indicated that most people felt that powers contained within existing dangerous dogs legislation were inadequate (VR, December 4, 2010, vol 167, p 884). ‘The police and the dog welfare charities said that the criminal law in relation to dogs being dangerously out of control should be extended to cover private property,’ he said, noting that, currently, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 applied only to public land or private land where the dog was trespassing. He added that there was also widespread support for compulsory microchipping.
Mr Paice said that, having considered the responses to this consultation and consulted further with the police, local authorities and other organisations dealing with irresponsible dog ownership, the Government had decided that it would be appropriate …