COMMONS

EFRA Committee launches new inquiry into Dog Control and Welfare

22 May 2012

This inquiry will consider the measures on Tackling Irresponsible Dog Ownership announced for consultation by Defra on 23 April and the response by Government and dog breeders to Professor Bateson’s Independent Inquiry into  Dog Breeding. 

Proposals are also awaited from the Home Office on reform of the anti-social behaviour regime, which will include problems related to dogs.

Launching the inquiry, Committee Chair, Anne McIntosh MP said,

"Attacks by out of control dogs are on the increase with tragic impacts on individuals, families and communities. Our inquiry will look closely at whether the Government is doing enough to tackle the problem of irresponsible dog owners and to improve the welfare of all dogs, including so-called status dogs. We also want to find out whether enough is being done to improve the health and welfare of dogs bred for sale."

The Committee invites all interested parties to address the following matters in writing by Monday 2 July 2012:

  • Whether the Government’s proposed approaches will deliver the right legal framework, enforcement regime and educational support to reduce irresponsible dog ownership and tackle out of control dogs;
  • Concerns about the welfare of dogs linked to breeding approaches.

Submissions are invited from interested parties on these general points and on the following issues:

Dog Control

Are the approaches proposed by Defra in its announcement on “Tackling Irresponsible Dog Ownership” on 23 April 2012 sufficient to ensure that there is a reduction in the number of attacks by dogs on people and animals?

In particular:

  • Is there a need for a more fundamental overhaul of dog legislation, and its enforcement, including that relating to dog attacks on people, livestock and pets?
  • Is sufficient action being taken on pets raised as status dogs to ensure their welfare and reduce their impact on communities?
  • Will compulsory microchipping of puppies improve dog welfare and help prevent dog attacks at an affordable cost to dog owners?  Should a dog licensing scheme also be considered?
  • Should the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 be extended to include offences committed on private property?
  • Are Defra’s proposals for wider community and educational approaches to support responsible dog ownership sufficiently ambitious?
  • Do local authorities, the police and animal welfare charities have the right roles in managing stray dogs under the current legislative regime?

Dog Welfare

In respect to concerns expressed in Professor Bateson’s report over poor welfare  that has arisen in the course of breeding dogs:

  • Has the response by dog breeders and the veterinary profession been effective?
  • What actions should Government take to address these issues?
  • Are further controls required on dog breeders, including puppy farms, and those selling or importing dogs to ensure the welfare of bitches and puppies? 

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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