November 23rd 2012 saw the Welsh Government’s Control of Dogs Bill consultation commence, a move welcomed by the Kennel Club as well as the British Veterinary Association (BVA).
The bill aims to deal with dangerous dogs in three ways:
By extending the scope of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to make it an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control anywhere in Wales, including on private property;
Amending the Dangerous Dogs Act to make it an offence for a dog to attack certain other animals; and
Making provision for local authorities to serve Dog Control Notices (DCNs) as a preventive measure and encouraging more responsible dog ownership through training.
This preventative approach to dog control was championed by the BVA and Kennel Club. The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust who recently lobbied Welsh Assembly Members on this issue rely upon the increased devolved powers that came into force last year allowing the Government to tackle this important issue.
The Bill is similar to Scotland’s Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010. President Peter Jones has stated:
“The announcement clearly recognises that a dog’s behaviour is primarily the result of the way it is reared, socialised and trained and not the way it looks, and that irresponsible ownership needs to be tackled in a constructive manner before it becomes a problem.” Leading animal injury solicitor James McNally of Slee Blackwell also welcomed the news:
“The Dangerous Dogs Act is a very poorly drafted piece of legislation. It was prepared in a rush and it fails to offer the protection to dog attack victims that it should. The progress being made in Wales should be an example to the rest of the UK.”