The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 has failed. Yet, after 21 years of the RSPCA having to deal with the mess that the Dangerous Dogs Act has left us in, the government today announced a flimsy package of measures to target irresponsible dog ownership, which fall way short of tackling the ever escalating problem.
Despite years of working with policy makers to help them to understand the issues that we, along with the police, local authorities and other animal charities have to deal with on the frontline, we seem to have been completely ignored.
While we welcome the proposed extension of the laws to cover attacks on private property, this is a mere drop in the ocean. The government has wasted this opportunity to make meaningful policies in the fight against irresponsible dog ownership, and with our animal centres filled to bursting with abandoned and abused dogs, we simply can’t wait another 20 years.
Even at their strongest, the proposals for microchipping which will be open to (yet another) public consultation, “compulsory microchipping for all dogs” will fall short of really addressing the issues and demonstrates that the Government have failed to grasp the complexities of this issue.
Microchipping alone is not enough
Many of the abandoned animals we see already have microchips, but inadequate and out of date records mean owners are unreachable or can simply claim that they ‘gave the dog away years ago’ (This was pointed out to Secretary of State, Caroline Spellman when she visited our Harmsworth Animal Hospital, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears). The RSPCA is calling for the reintroduction of a mandatory dog registration system to run alongside compulsory microchipping, but it is vital that owners details be centrally held in an up to date Government run database if it is to be effective.
Dog registration would go a huge way to improving the lives of millions of dogs and holding the irresponsible owners to account for acts of cruelty or neglect.
After 20 years of having to deal with the reality of failing dog control laws which fails to hold cruel and irresponsible owners accountable for their actions, frankly, we’ve had enough.