National Dog Warden Association (NDWA)
33
years
1984 - 2017

NATIONAL DOG WARDEN ASSOCIATION RESPONSE TO DEFRAS PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON DANGEROUS DOGS DOCUMENT

Fri, 28 May 2010

NATIONAL DOG WARDEN ASSOCIATION

RESPONSE TO DEFRA&rsquoS &ldquoPUBLIC CONSULTATION ON DANGEROUS DOGS&rdquo DOCUMENT OF 9TH MARCH 2010

 

Please note that answers are numbered in accordance with the questions contained within the consultation document.

 

Q1:

 

Dogs can attack or cause injury on private property just as easily as they can in public areas.  If a person has a need to visit a property, whether to deliver an item or call on official or private business then it should be expected that they have the full protection of the law if they are injured by a dog, be it an attack or by the dog causing injury in some other way such as knocking the caller over.  The Dogs Act 1871 offers some protection on private property but it should be the same for all areas, with specific exemptions for burglaries or trespassing.

 

Q2:

 

Not really as there is currently no joined up approach from the 43 Constabularies regarding how to deal with prohibited and dangerous dogs.  Some forces have Dog Legislation Officers, others do not.  Some take a proactive approach to the problems of prohibited dogs, others do nothing.  DEFRA gave £20,000 towards the training of DLO&rsquos for 43 police forces, this equates to approximately £465 per force, is that an adequate resource? However, there should be an initial increase in cases so a slight increase in costs to the enforcers Police and dog wardens and the CPS.

 

Q3:

 

Unlikely to have a significant effect.

 

Q4:

 

Breed specific legislation is not effective as it does not take into account the irresponsible nature of dog owners who would fail to control their dog regardless of the breed.  Breed specific legislation restricts ownership of those dogs that have been deemed as prohibitive by Government, any dog can be dangerous to other dogs, animals and humans.  A Pomeranian killed a baby in the United States of America therefore Pomeranians should be added to any list of prohibited dogs as this act shows they are a dangerous dog. Also a dog may not have any pitbull in it but it may be considered a pitbull type because of its shape and not its temperament this is inherently unjust.

 

Q5:

 

Breed specific legislation should be scrapped forthwith and certainly not extended. We are not aware of ONEscientifically carried out study that states the breeds listed on the DDA S1 are more likely to be dangerous that any other breed. No other breeds of dogs should be included to make mention of Staffordshire Bull Terriers in this consultation document shows a certain lack of knowledge of the breed.  Paragraph 64 states that some Animal Welfare groups favour breed specific legislation this is a surprise, is it possible for these to be named?

 

Q6:

 

Rather than certain breeds being at risk of inclusion on the register, what needs to be addressed is which dogs will be added to the list due to socio economic factors.  Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a very popular breed, not just with &lsquohoodies&rsquo and gang members but with the general public, likewise other breeds such as Rottweilers, German Shepherd Dogs, Doberman&rsquos, are all equally popular.  Akita&rsquos seem to be candidates for inclusion, but go to Crufts and you can see extremely well behaved and well trained Akita&rsquos being handled, surely rather than adding any other breed to the prohibited list steps should be taken to ensure that all dog owners regardless of the breed they own adhere to certain generic criteria regarding their dogs training. I know of no breed where anything but a very small percentage of dogs of that breed are dangerous or aggressive and, if they are, they are usually trained to be so by man. Adding extra breeds to the list is not the answer to solving dangerous dog problems

 

Q7:

 

Breed specific legislation should be repealed as it is plain to see that even with the legislation being in place since 1991, there have still been fatalities caused by Pit Bull Terrier types, there have also been fatalities involving non prohibited breeds. There is no evidence that the introduction of s1 DDA has had any positive effect on public safety. All fatalities have occurred on private premises, usually the home of the victims or relatives. The situation with owning/keeping a banned breeds is that they have become a talisman for certain members of the population in the same way as they collect ASBOs.

 

Q8:

 

In our opinion, prohibiting more dogs would lead to more offences of owning them so increased cost for Police and Local Authorities and to more being abandoned so increased cost to shelters and local authorities. Rescue centres and Local Authorities across the country can give anecdotal evidence to state that abandoned, uncollected strays, hand-ins increase every time a breed is highlighted in the media in a negative way.

 

Q9:

 

We don&rsquot see that this would increase costs to police, Local Authorities or shelters. Maybe a slight decrease in costs due to less prosecutions surrounding breed specific legislation.

 

 

 

 

Q10:

 

No because dogs of type would go underground and police and Local Authorities would end up with the unenviable task of having to destroy all subsequent dogs of type that came to light from the removal of the exemption. NB It is vital that the 1997 act is not completely repealed as any dog owner found guilty under section 3 would have his dog put to sleep as there would be no other option for the judge as he would no longer be permitted to make a control order

 

Q11:

 

The exemption already has strict requirements so why change a perfectly workable procedure?

 

Q12:

 

Keep the current Index system and as with the original Index send out to Local Authority Dog Warden Services the information on prohibited registered dogs within the particular Local Authority area or have a central database that is accessible by local authorities and the police. Currently if a court case is successful and a control order is placed on a dog it can be difficult for other agencies to be aware of this.

 

Q13:

 

No it would mean the destruction of dogs that came to the attention of the Police and Local Authorities, even if they pose no significant danger to the public.

 

Q14:

 

Not all welfare organisations will take in &lsquoBull Breeds&rsquo anyway so the impact may be less financially imposing as it may seem if it referred to say Labradors or Jack Russell Terriers.  If the exemption was removed these dogs would not be available for rehoming, so they would be euthanised after being positively identified by an expert?

 

Q15:

 

There would be an increase in the work of the police to prove that a dog was of type. Then once any legal proceedings were over or the owner was persuaded to sign the dog over to the police, it would presumably be destroyed as there would be no method of exemption. It is perhaps indicative of a certain mindset that the only &lsquoimpact&rsquo the consultation looks at is a financial one. No mention is made of the emotional impact on the staff that would have to work with this backwards step including a huge increase in the killing of dogs because of their body form.

 

 

 

 

Q16:

 

Yes, it would give the Police and dog wardens the ability to enforce for more minor problems without having to go through the courts. However, Dog Control Notices would only be as effective as the organisation issuing them and keeping a check on the progress of a particular dog. They may take away the need for al dog owners to be prosecuted in court but, without a consistent national approach, the preventative benefits of such notices would be wasted.

 

Q17:

 

Low level incidents of a dog being out of control such as:

 

 Knocking a person over after running around in a public place but not causing any injury.

 

Attacking another dog exception being if a dog is on the lead and it is attacked by a dog that runs up off the lead

 

Persistent straying

 

Attacking livestock or other animals in cases that are not serious enough to be dealt with by the Dogs Protection of livestock Act 1953

 

Q18:

 

We agree that the remedial measures listed could all be listed as options.

 

Q19:

 

The Dog Control Orders should apply to all property and places. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, Authorised Inspectors can issue Improvement Notices that have to be adhered to, these are issued on private property, why not introduce legislation that covers the issuing of Dog Control Notices on private property where the person has a legal right to be there? For example, if postmen/visitors are regularly being menaced by aggressive dogs when they walk up the path or driveway.

 

Q20:

 

There absolutely must be an appeal process for every dog control notice. It cannot be guaranteed that the officer serving the notice did so in a proportionate, unbiased way. The public have the right to appeal against this, as they should any charge from parking fine upwards!

 

 

 

 

Q21:

 

Authorised Local Authority Dog Wardens and Police Dog Legislation Officers after they have attended a course where they have to pass an examination that shows they are conversant with the legislation and are competent to serve such notices. 

 

Q22:

 

They already currently have this ability under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2006.  Dogs could be banned from children&rsquos play areas and a number of other areas where there may be a danger to people and the dogs themselves although they must be able to demonstrate that there is a genuine risk to public safety.

 

Q23:

 

There will be a financial impact on enforcement agencies and the government needs to ensure that they are adequately resourced unlike the debacle of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and Section 68 of the Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005.  Without adequate resources, Local Authorities as the main enforcers for low level dog control issues are not going to adopt something where they have to set aside funds to implement legislation. The government needs to make it a statutory requirement for Local Authorities to enforce otherwise there will be a low uptake such as the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and they need to fund this adequately.

 

Q24:

 

A lot of responsible dog owners already have third party liability insurance in their general pet insurance schemes. Specifying that certain breeds of dogs should have insurance and others do not need it is divisive and what is to stop the smallest of dogs from causing an accident? Compulsory insurance for all dog owners is a favourable option. If this is not feasible, it could be a requirement of a control order for an owner to get insurance but certainly not pick on some breeds to have it and some not.

 

Q25:

 

We believe, if insurance was compulsory, it could be run by insurance companies but enforcement agencies would need access to that information. It would need to be in conjunction with a registration scheme so compulsory microchipping would be necessary and recorded on Petlog. Insurance would require the microchip details to be kept up to date on the system. Revenue could be used to fund Dog Warden services.

 

Q26:

 

No it should include all dogs regardless of size and breed and should be the same charge for all dogs.

 

Q27:

 

It is estimated that 25 of car drivers in the UK have no insurance, so you would have to assume that 25 of dog owners would not adhere to any licensing requirements.  If this were to be so, any dogs seized and not having a license would only be released back to the owner after the dog had been licensed the statutory government charge for stray dogs would be waived to enable registration to be carried out for a year A lot of dog owners leave their seized dogs at the holding kennels rather than claim them because they begrudge paying the fees, this shows that possibly it is better for that particular dog to not be with such a person. Where an owner&rsquos dog is involved in an incident and he is found to be uninsured, this would constitute a serious offence as with cars. We would support reductions for pensioners and multi-dog households,

 

Q28:

 

Why would it?  If a stray dog is rehomed by a Local Authority to an animal welfare charity, when that charity rehome the dog, they should have a legal requirement to make the new owner fill in the registration form for the area they live in.  Example being, a person is adopting a Labrador and they live in Manchester, the new owners come to collect the dog and they have with them the Dog License complete with insurance. Dogs&rsquo homes/charities should have insurance for the whole premises rather than for individual dogs.

 

Q29:

 

Yes but microchipping of all dogs is not the be all and end all it is made out to be!  Dog Wardens average about 40 of dogs with microchips handled by them having out of date, incorrect or no details at all on the microchips? Who would enforce any discrepancies regarding microchips&hellip&hellipLocal Authority Dog Wardens, not Petlog, not the animal welfare organisations or even the police?  Do Local Authorities have the resources to carry out this work in the current climate with Local Authorities cutting the size of Dog Warden Services or downgrading the important work they do? Compulsory microchipping would work well in conjunction with the insurance requirement see above Q.25, otherwise it is difficult to enforce on it&rsquos own as most people who move or give away/sell their dogs forget to change the details

 

Q30:

 

As Q29. I think microchipping/insuring puppies is important and, with this proof of ownership, would help to combat the puppy farmers and irresponsible back-street breeders. Puppies should be insured and chipped before they are sold &ndash there could be a specific clause that allows transfer of ownership with the insurance policy for puppies that are intended for gift/sale this would apply to private as well as commercial breeders.

 

 

 

Q31:

 

Who would enforce it, hard pressed Dog Wardens who as this consultation document points out varies from highly motivated, well trained and knowledgeable to poorly trained ones.  Many Local Authorities fail to appreciate the important role that Dog Wardens play in community safety and those who have downgraded their services to stray dogs being dealt with by Pest Control Officers/Community Safety Officers for example are not going to have individuals who are spending 100 of their work day dealing with dog issues. Any enforcement needs to be carried out by motivated, well trained and knowledgeable Dog Wardens who are fully supported by their Local Authorities and properly funded. Again, works best in conjunction with insurance where insurance companies would run the database. It would tend to be enforced only when a problem dog comes to light that isn&rsquot insured which is why the penalty for non-insurance should be an adequate deterrent. Yes, this would initially require extra enforcement by Police/Local authorities but could ultimately reduce enforcement

 

Q32:

 

All or nothing, no divisive microchipping policy.

 

Q33:

 

If you can afford a dog, you can afford to have it chipped. As long as the chipping price is kept at a reasonable level it should be standard. Often Local Authorities and welfare societies offer temporary or permanent promotional rates

 

Q34:

 

The only people to have any financial impact are the microchipping companies.  The price of microchips should be set by the government to prevent &lsquoracketeerism&rsquo if it becomes compulsory to have dog&rsquos microchipped. Shelters could pass on the cost of chipping to the new owner.

 

Q35:

 

 This question is directed towards Petlog.  Whoever gets it, there should be one sole data-base, unlike the current system of several which complicates the accessing of information by Local Authorities as it depends on the microchip to which data-base you need to call.

 

Q36:

 

We are divided on this. Suffice to say that, as long as the legislation is well written and there is proper guidance and advice from DEFRA and there is proper funding for the employment, protection and training of enforcers, we would be happy.

 

 

 

Q37:

 

Yes especially in the underuse of section 4.b. of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 which would reduce the complication, cost and stress to dogs that have been labelled dangerous because of their appearance and to their owners but only with adequate resources and training for the enforcement agencies, be it the police or Local Authorities.

 

Q38:

 

There should be scope to enable senior Local Authority Dog Wardens to attend this course or the implementation of a course specifically for Local Authority Dog Wardens. Agreed but in answer to this question, yes.

 

Q39:

 

I think the public are aware of the existing law but they are also hopelessly misinformed with regards to dog behaviour and responsible ownership. The government need to lend more support to Local Authorities who should be at the forefront of public education. Instead, more local authorities are cutting their dog warden budget or outsourcing their stray dog contracts.

[The government needs to raise its own awareness that the National Dog Warden Association were not consulted regarding this document and had to find out like the rest of the general public.  NDWA members are at the forefront of all aspects of dog control].

 

Q40:

 

I think that providing proper resources for staff, equipment, education and training and guidance to enforcers, particularly Dog Wardens, when they introduce new legislation would show the public and status dog owners that they are serious about this issue.

 

 

 

Document collated from responses made by National Dog warden Association committee members by Dave Griffiths on 21st May 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Return to the full list of news articles







For Dog Wardens Missing Dogs About NDWA
Copyright © National Dog Warden Association (NDWA) 2012 - 2017. All rights reserved.