However Battersea is increasingly concerned that Lord Henley, the Government Minister responsible for animal welfare, may not introduce such legislative changes in 2011 and today the Home calls on the Government to do so. Claire Horton, Chief Executive for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home commented, “This consultation confirms people want to see our dangerous dog laws changed but the public’s desire for change now needs to be matched by the politicians. Our communities need to be protected from the small but significant minority of owners who breed such dangerous dogs and Battersea hopes these findings will be fully taken on board, as the nation deserves to have much more effective legislation covering dog control issues.
“Battersea is a major player in the dangerous dogs debate, as we aim to give all dogs arriving at our rehoming centres a second chance in life. We come up against the nation’s most difficult dog problems, with on average 28 new and unwanted dogs coming through our doors every single day, so we would be concerned if there is no meaningful improvement on the horizon for these animals.“ The consultation also revealed 84% of respondents support the microchipping of all dogs and early signs indicate the Government plans to look to community-related initiatives and microchipping for solutions. Claire Horton added, “Battersea support compulsory microchipping and we chip every animal we rehome. But we would go further than that and support the introduction of a National Registration Scheme for dogs as well as compulsory chipping. “Sadly, too many of the dogs we take in here at Battersea have been badly abused or neglected in a previous life and some have been used by their owners as ‘status’ dogs, where the dog is a substitute for a gun or a knife. If these dogs were chipped and more easily traced back to owners using them for criminal activity, this would go some way towards helping improve the situation.” Not all of the consultation’s findings were welcomed by the charity. 63% of respondents did not back extending dog legislation to all private property to protect groups such as postmen. The Home finds this disappointing as it believes the public should be protected wherever they are.
Particularly in light of the Government’s cost cutting measures in October’s Public Spending Review, Battersea believes Lord Henley must also not overlook how local authorities fund their stray dog control services in the future. This is an important policy area the charity included in its consultation submission, as it is so closely connected to ‘status’ and ‘dangerous’ dog concerns. Battersea believes that local authorities must have access to a dedicated stray dog budget to deal with their statutory responsibilities effectively under the Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act.
Lord Henley is expected to respond to the consultation’s findings early in the New Year. Link: End BSL