By Ken Skates AM / Latest News / 0 Comments

AM calls for dangerous dog change to punish irresponsible owners

CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has called for a change in the law on dangerous dogs, saying the previous law is ‘out-dated’.

The AM said current dangerous dogs legislation had done little to halt the breeding, ownership and sale of dangerous dogs in areas like North Wales.

Currently the law bans the ownership of specific types of dogs, but the AM said the law needed to be changed to more effectively monitor and punish irresponsible owners, not certain breeds of dog.

In 2011-12 dogs attacked 56 people in North Wales in the year to March 31, including 16 children.  Twelve of the animals were destroyed and 26 of the owners were cautioned or charged, but in 15 of the incidents the owner of the vicious dog responsible was never traced.

Labour AM Ken Skates said:

“The law as it currently stands does not work effectively.  It is well intentioned, but fails to protect scores of people in North Wales who each year get seriously injured by very dangerous and aggressive dogs.

“The existing law is out-dated as it bans specific types of dog.  However the problem is that it is very easy for breeders to circumvent this by legally breeding in aggressive characteristics to dogs allowed under the legislation.

“We need to be very careful in how we approach this and take time to get the change right, but we should look to move to a system where we punish the irresponsible owners, not specific types of animal.  We need to punish the deed, not the breed.

“The Welsh Government is currently looking at the possibility of a new law and I want them to look carefully at making it an offence to have a dog that is out of control on private property, including in people’s homes.

“As a dog owner myself I know that every dog needs to be properly trained and responsibly socialised.  Such a change would help make our communities safer and help the Police do their job more effectively.

“This isn’t about punishing responsible dog owners.  However we do have around half a million dogs in Wales and so these are issues we need to look at very carefully.”

The Welsh Government is also looking to introduce compulsory microchipping of dogs, as well as crack down on puppy farms.

Legislation on dog control had previously only made it an offence to have a dog out of control in public places and private places where dogs are not allowed.