New suggestions to protect the public from dangerous dogs are 'barking mad', according to Tory environment spokesman Nick Herbert.
The proposals include:
- Extending dangerous dogs laws to cover private property;
- Removing exemption rules that allow some people to keep banned types of dogs;
- Introduction of compulsory micro-chipping for dogs so that antisocial dog owners can be more easily traced; &
- Introduction of compulsory third party insurance so that victims of dog attacks are financially recompensed.
The number of reported dog fights has increased 12-fold since 2004 and the police seized 900 dangerous dogs in London alone last year.
Launching a consultation on the proposals, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said:
"Britain is a nation of animal lovers, but people have a fundamental right to feel safe on the streets and in their homes. The vast majority of dog owners are responsible, but there is no doubt that some people breed and keep dogs for the soul purpose of intimidating others, in a sense using dogs as a weapon. It is this sort of behaviour that we will not tolerate; it is this sort of behaviour that we are determined to stop."
While Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said:
"There is a lot of public concern about dog attacks, including the recent tragic deaths of young children, and about the rise in the number of so-called 'status dogs' used to intimidate or threaten people.
"This is a serious issue of public safety. The Government wants to hear what people think about the law as it stands and what more we might do to protect people from dangerous dogs."