Ministers fail to act on dangerous dogs
Labour has slammed the government's failure to meet its own deadline for publishing dangerous dogs reforms after Defra ministers failed to bring forward proposals before parliament broke for easter recess on 27th March.
Under pressure from Members of Parliament about government inaction, Defra Minister Jim Paice said in the Commons on 1st March 2012 “If a Minister stands at the despatch box and says that something will happen very shortly, it means precisely that. It certainly means before the House rises for Easter.” That deadline expired on 27th March.
Labour has been supporting a coalition of over twenty organisations - representing police and health professionals, dog and animal welfare groups, postal workers and other front-line staff – in presenting a agreed set of proposals to the government.
• Extending dangerous dog laws to cover attacks on private property
• More powers to police and local authorities, including early intervention with dog control notices on owners
• Updating existing powers to reduce costs of enforcement and give greater flexibility to courts and enforcement agencies
• Exploring the extension of micro-chipping to encourage responsible ownership, beginning with puppy farms
• A programme of education and engagement on responsible ownership involving animal welfare organisations
Huw Irranca-Davies, Labour’s Shadow Environment Minister, commenting on the government's failure to tackle the issue, said:
“The Government’s consultation on dangerous dogs ended nearly two years ago, but since then all we’ve had are warm words and no action. Nearly 100 people are treated in hospital each week, kennelling costs are out of control, and people are rightly sickened by the latest attacks from aggressive and uncontrolled dogs.”
“Victims and their families are demanding tough action from this government now. Postal workers and dog charities, health professionals and vets, front-line workers like police and social services have had enough of this delay and dither.”
“Labour is on the side of the law-abiding majority who want action to deal with irresponsible owners, and dangerous dogs. We cannot stand by as injuries mount and costs escalate, waiting for an out of touch government which fails to deliver. Labour urges the government to act now, and prevent injuries -and fatalities - to front-line workers carrying out their jobs, or children and families at play.”