John calling for tougher laws to prevent dog attacks

LOCAL MP John Healey is calling for tougher laws to help stop dog attacks.

He is calling on the Government to:

• close the loophole preventing prosecution if a dog attacks on private property
• bring in Dog Control Notices, giving a wider power for the police and local councils to act on a range of dog-related crime and anti-social behaviour – whatever the breed

Mr Healey has been contacted about attacks on a number of local people and pets.

For example, last month Rebecca Lowman of Goldthorpe, Rotherham, suffered serious injuries to her arms and foot after going to the aid of a woman in her own home and being set upon by a family dog.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 covers dogs that are “dangerously out of control in a public place”, leaving a loophole when attacks happen on private property.

The government intends to update the 1991 Act within the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill which is currently passing through Parliament and will reach report stage next week (14/15 October).

Mr Healey will speak during the debate and call on the government to go further than it has said it plans to do.

He said: “Labour has been arguing for these changes but ministers have been dragging their feet for three years, during which time thousands of people have suffered debilitating injuries.

“Most dog owners are responsible and their dogs well behaved, but there are a minority who seem to see dogs as status symbols and even weapons.

“The government need to go further and bring in Dog Control Notices, as already exist in Scotland, and early intervention powers to stop irresponsible owners and backstreet breeders.”

The number of people taken to court for dog-related offences doubled over a decade, and thousands of dog attack victims are hospitalised every year.