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Response To Public Consulation On Dangerous Dogs Published

The Coalition Government's Animal Welfare Minister Lord Henley has published the summary of the 4,250 responses to the dangerous dogs consultation to better inform wider public debate on the issue, and in an official announcement repeated the present government's commitment to tackling dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners.

CWU have issued LTB1057/10 advising CWU Branch's of the outcome of the public consultation on Dangerous Dogs and in particular, the response to the CWU's evidence submitted.

Dave Joyce, CWU's National Health, Safety & Environment Officer says in his letter to CWU Branches:

DEFRA's report can be downloaded hereIn his announcement accompanying the publication of the consultation response Lord Henley said that Dangerous dogs are a major issue affecting many people and that the issue of dangerous dogs is not just a problem of dangerous breeds but also one of bad owners and that such bad owners need to be held to account and stopped from ruining people's lives. He added that Defra was working the Home Office on the anti-social behaviour dimension to the issue. 

Highlighting key areas of interest to the CWU in our "Bite-Back" Campaign Lord Henley said government were looking closely at issues raised in the consultation, such as breed-specific bans, micro-chipping and attacks on private property. Lord Henley concluded that he would announce the Government's approach to dangerous dogs early in the New Year.

Responses to many of the forty proposals in the dangerous dogs consultation were strongly divided, with primary concerns being whether the bans on specific dog breeds were the best approach to reduce dog attacks, and how to deal promptly and effectively with those that allow their dogs to be a nuisance or danger to others.

The Defra consultation on dangerous dogs was launched by the previous Labour government following the CWU Campaign and other partner campaigning organisation led to a meeting with the Prime Minister and Defra, Justice and Home Office Ministers.

Intensive lobbying on the new Government has continued by the Union and other organisations on Dangerous Dogs in order to seek firm commitments to revise and modernise the Dangerous Dogs Laws and the new government has acknowledged the growing concern over public safety issues relating to dangerous and status dogs and that this is an issue which the Government takes very seriously.

The Defra response document states that they will look to address gaps in the law to stop this anti-social and criminal behaviour continuing, rather than making more piecemeal changes to existing dangerous dogs legislation.

The remiander of the LTB outlines the details of the government response and refers specifically to the CWU Bites Back dangerous dogs campaign:

The CWU 'Bite-Back' Campaign, launched in 2008 following two Dog attacks where the Postmen victims concerned were nearly killed and the fact that 6000 Royal Mail and Parcelforce Delivery staff are attacked by dogs every year with 70% of those attacks occurring on private property (private paths, gardens, lanes, drives, roads, yards or unadopted land) where the law does not apply and irresponsible owners are immune from prosecution. Police and Dog Wardens also have no proactive or pre-emptive powers to order owners to take action to avoid attacks. Six young children have been killed in dog attacks in recent years and recently 6 more children were
disfigured and seriously injured in attacks.

Supporting Organisations:

The CWU has received the support of many different major organisations who have campaigned with us calling for the government to take action and change the law and deal with dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners (e.g. Royal Mail, TUC, Unite, GMB, Unison, Prospect, Animal Welfare Charities RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Kennel Club, Guide Dogs For The Blind, PDSA, Blue Cross,  Police Federation, National Dog Wardens Association, British Vets Association and Royal College of Nursing.  

CWU's Bite Back campaignPrime Minister's Commitment:

Prior to the General Election, the Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg gave written assurances to CWU confirming that the new Government would amend the current ineffective law.

Successes in Scotland and Northern Ireland:

Following our campaign's success in having convinced the governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland to change the law (Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act and Northern Ireland Dogs (Amendment) Bill) which will both become Law in 2011, making dangerous dogs law apply to private land and will enforce compulsory dog licences and micro-chipping as well an increased court penalties for irresponsible dog owners among other measures, everything now rests on Westminster in relation to Laws in England and Wales.

Around half a million people are bitten or attacked by dogs each year, but there are fewer than 650 convictions annually.

The full LTB can be downloaded here, and the official DEFRA response can be downloaded from the E-Libary Database using search words 'Dangerous Dogs'.

Source: CWU / DEFRA

See also: CWU Responds To The Government's Dangerous Dogs Consultation Results

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