September 1st 2010 ~ abandoned dogs and welfare
20 groups, including the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust, came together earlier this month to ask the government to legislate against irresponsible dog ownership. A summary from DEFRA's consultation on dog legislation, which received more than 4,000 responses by the time it closed in June, is expected this autumn.Organisations signed up to this statement
The Scottish Parliament's newly passed Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill (pdf) - champions the principle of 'deed not breed' and allows local authorities to control or punish the owners of badly behaved dogs would seem an excellent blueprint for England to follow.
Today, a new report, written by RSPCA director of communications David Bowles, based on research it commissioned by Reading University, recommends a dog licence scheme set at £20-£30 per dog annually - with discounts for neutered dogs and assistance dogs. Microchips would be used to identify the dogs, with all details entered on a single national database.
The Dogs Trust charity says it strongly disagrees with this. The Dogs Trust cares for around 16,000 dogs at its nationwide network of 17 Rehoming Centres and never destroys a healthy dog does favour compulsory micro-chipping but sees drawbacks to a licence scheme. In Northern Ireland, it points out, there is still a requirement to buy a dog licence yet Northern Ireland still has the highest number of stray dogs per head of population of any part of the UK. Those rounded up and put down represent 34% of the total UK figure. Only about one-third of all dog owners there actually buy a licence:
"Dog licensing is little more than a punitive tax on responsible dog owners who already contribute estimated£451 million to the public purse through dog related tax resources."
"We believe that irresponsible dog ownership, whether it is allowing dogs to stray, be dangerously out of control or indiscriminately breeding them, causes significant problems for the safety and welfare of both humans and animals. Current legislation is proving inadequate in many cases to ensure sufficient protection.include:
We believe that both the provision of sufficient resources at a local level for local authorities and the police, and updated and consolidated legislation that has a genuine preventative effect, are needed to address this problem.
We call on the coalition Government to act and bring forward legislation that addresses these areas effectively."
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, The Blue Cross, The British Horse Society, British Veterinary Association (BVA), CIEH (Chartered Institute for Environmental Health), Communication Workers Union (CWU), Dogs Trust, GMB, Guide Dogs for the Blind, IIRSM (International Institute of Risk and Safety Management), Kennel Club, The Mayhew Animal Home, National Dog Warden Association (NDWA), PDSA, Police Federation, Prospect, RSPCA, TUC (Trades Union Congress), UNISON, UNITE.
May 19th 2010 ~ "Why should a dog be killed just because someone feels that it looks like another dog that has been judged to be dangerous?"
DEFRA's consultation on "dangerous dogs" will be closed at the end of May. A simple way to respond is via DEFRA's online questionnaire ( and although some of the questions are leading questions or difficult to answer in detail, it is a praiseworthy effort to get ordinary dog owners involved).
This Telegraph article appeared in response to Lord Harris's "why not just kill them?" alternative to the present Dangerous Dogs Act. Written by a vet of 25 years' experience, it makes a case for the UK to follow the example of the Scottish Parliament's newly passed Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill (pdf) - which champions the principle of 'deed not breed' and allows local authorities to control or punish the owners of badly behaved dogs. "Dogs that resemble the stereotypical "dangerous dog breeds" are left in peace, as long as they're well behaved," he explains.