Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd is urging people to show support for new laws to force irresponsible dog owners to control their pets.
A bill is currently going through parliament which would see sentences increased for people who let their animals attack or kill, as well as having the laws apply on private property.
But a measure to introduce powerful dog control orders – which aim to prevent serious attacks by dealing with bad behaviour at an early stage – was narrowly taken out of the bill as it progressed through parliament.
Now Tony is urging the government to reintroduce the measure – and asking Greater Manchester people to back him by completing a simple survey on his website.
Dog control notices are also being backed by the family of Jade Anderson. Jade died in a dog attack earlier this year in Wigan. The owner of the dog escaped prosecution because of the current legislation.
Tony said: “We’re a nation of animal lovers and dogs make both wonderful pets and companions. But sadly there are irresponsible dog owners out there who refuse to control their animals. We’ve seen the tragic consequences that this leads to, most recently when Jade was killed by an out-of-control dog.
“It’s really welcome news that the government is planning to give more powers to the courts when owners allow their animals to attack, but we all know that prevention is better than cure. Dog control notices are a vital tool to ensure that action is taken by irresponsible owners before it gets to the stage that someone is seriously injured or killed.
“I believe it’s a common sense measure, that most people would support, so I’m asking the people of Greater Manchester to join with me in urging the government to put this vital tool back into the bill.”
Jade’s stepfather, Michael Anderson, added: “It’s good that the government is toughening up sentences, but what we really want is to prevent attacks happening in the first place.
“Dog control notices won’t stop all dog attacks, but they will be a really big help and it’s really important they are brought in.”
Dog control notices, sometimes dubbed “Dog Asbos”, are intended to make irresponsible owners act before their dog carries out a serious attack. They force owners to modify their behaviour, through measures like forcing them to muzzle their dogs in public, have them microchipped or neutered. Owners can also be fined and made to take their dogs on behavioural training.
The survey is open until 12 September 2013.
The survey is now closed.
Afterwards, Tony will write to the government and urge them to reintroduce the measure to the bill.
Image courtesy of D Goomany Photography via Flickr