| Action on dangerous dogs has been 'woefully inadequate', MPs warn|
|The government has being strongly criticised for "inaction" over dog attacks and poor animal welfare, despite growing public concern over the issues. A cross-party committee of MPs said on Friday that current laws have "comprehensively failed" to tackle irresponsible dog ownership.|
Proposals published last week to introduce compulsory dog microchipping in England, and extend the law so that owners can be prosecuted if their dog attacks an individual on private property, were "belated" and "woefully inadequate", it was claimed.
The select committee on environment, food and rural affairs called for the environment department (Defra) to urgently bring forward a bill to consolidate the "fragmented" legislation relating to dog control and welfare.
Tory MP Anne McIntosh, who chairs the committee, said: "Current laws have comprehensively failed to tackle irresponsible dog ownership. Defra's belated proposals are too limited.
"Since 2007 dogs have killed seven people, including five children, in private homes. More than 100,000 strays are found each year. Incidents of cruelty and neglect are rising and many dogs are out of control due to the irresponsible or deliberate actions of a minority of owners."The evidence we received from Defra and the home office did little to reassure us that either department is giving sufficient priority to dog control and welfare issues.
"The home office approach to tackling antisocial behaviour is too simplistic and fails to reflect the impact that poor breeding and training by irresponsible owners can have on a dog's behaviour.
"New rules should give enforcement officers more effective powers, including dog control notices, to prevent dog-related antisocial behaviour. Local authorities need to devote more resources to the effective management of stray dogs."
Defra had done little to improve dog welfare linked to dog breeding, with an over-reliance on voluntary action, said the report. "The high number of dog attacks demonstrates that the current legislation has comprehensively failed to protect the public from attacks by out of control dogs."