Defra recently revealed Government plans to tackle irresponsible dog ownership - you can read Defra's statement and how to respond in this previous blogpost. There has been disappointment within the dog world that the proposals didn't really tackle the issue of how to deal with dangerous dogs. The RSPCA is currently running a campaign called 42 Teeth - "All dogs have 42 teeth, but only some have irresponsible owners."
Here's some more information from the RSPCA:
Our 42 Teeth campaign attempts to tackle the issues of ‘dangerous’ dogs and irresponsible dog ownership.
We think The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 has failed, and any new legislation has to move away from demonising certain breeds. Instead it should focus on targeting irresponsible dog owners, who allow and even encourage their dogs to be aggressive and abuse or abandon their dogs.
Dog owners need to be held accountable for their actions, including taking responsibility for their dogs’ behaviour and training.
We have an opportunity to help change things for the better as the government is reviewing the current law. However, they’re currently proposing a new flimsy package of measures which fall way short of tackling this escalating problem.
Here’s how we think the legislation needs to change:
● Most dog attacks happen in the home, but current legislation doesn’t cover private property, so many irresponsible owners are not held accountable for attacks.
● Emphasis on prevention by education and engagement.
● Compulsory microchipping and dog registration are vital, but details must be held in a centrally held government database which is kept up to date if it is to be effective.
● A comprehensive approach to tackle irresponsible dog ownership that prevents serious incidents from occurring rather than waiting for them to happen before action can be taken.
● Measures to improve dog welfare - especially for those that are seized as part of investigations.
● The abolition or phasing out of Breed Specific Legislation.
You can find out more about the issue of irresponsible dog ownership by watching the RSPCA's 42 Teeth video - this video has very important information, but do be warned that is contains strong images of dogs' suffering that some will find distressing. You can also support the RSPCA campaign by responding to the Government's consultation.