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June 13, 2011

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Government urged to legislate to protect workers and the public from dangerous dogs

A number of animal charities, enforcement agencies and trades unions has come together to call on the coalition Government to target irresponsible dog-owners to help reduce the thousands of attacks on workers and the public that occur each year.

According to the group, which includes the RSPCA, the Communications Workers Union, and the Police Federation, the involvement of uncontrolled dogs in causing road accidents, and in attacks on humans and farm livestock cost the taxpayer around £76.8 million a year. It adds that at least eight people were killed by dogs in the last four years and some 200 have been seriously injured, while reports of dog fighting have increased 12-fold.

Consequently, the group wants the Government to honour its election pledge to “promote responsible pet ownership [and] ensure that enforcement agencies target irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs” by including a Dog Control Bill in this year’s Queen’s Speech. Any new legislation, it adds, must cover all places, including private property, to ensure better public safety and animal welfare.

The CWU has campaigned for some time on this issue, claiming that some 6000 postal workers and 400 telecoms engineers are attacked by out-of-control dogs every year. The union’s national HS&E officer, Dave Joyce – who, last year, received the SHP IOSH Achiever of the Year award for his work on the union’s Bite Back campaign – said some of the attacks on members have been “horrific”.

He explained: “Two incidents – in Cambridge and Sheffield – resulted in both postmen nearly losing limbs and needing ongoing medical treatment. In most cases it’s the irresponsibility of owners that leads to their terrible injuries in the course of their job. Many of our members remain both physically and psychologically scarred as a result of their experience with dangerous dogs, and over 70 per cent of attacks cannot result in a prosecution under the current law.

“We want the out-dated laws to be made fit for purpose and brought in line with the new laws introduced in Scotland and Northern Ireland this year. We want responsible dog ownership, which helps prevent horrific attacks taking place, whether on postal workers or small children. Where attacks do still occur, it’s vital the new laws suitably identify and hold owners to account. Victims of dog attacks have been let down for too long.”

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12 years ago

i have walked my dog for 12 years were i live and i have seen many changes in relations to dog owners. one being the owners are far to irasponsable and young to own a dog the other being they never pick up there dog crap. were was the law that says all dangeros dogs have to be muzzled. near were i walk some locals do not even put a lead on there dog never mined muzle it. can you imagine holding your breath whilst you go of the trust of the owner whilst walking past one of these dangeros… Read more »