Your Dog Needs You - Urgent

27/5/10

DANGEROUS DOGS ACT, DEFRA QUESTIONNAIRE - IMPORTANT

It is with grave concern and URGENCY that we felt it crucial to contact you and ask you to spread the word.

Are you aware of the Dog Control Bill that is currently on its second reading in the House of Lords and the effect it will have on all our dogs?

We believe this Bill is aimed at status, illegal and dangerous dogs but it actually affects every dog in the country.

It is intended to replace the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) and other legislation but actually extends the power of the law into your home and gardens.

SO WHAT?

Having taken legal opinion it is imperative that you visit the Defra website and complete their online questionnaire which addresses a number of dog issues as well as this Bill.

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/dangerous-dogs/index.htm

If you want to read the proposed Bill go to

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldbills/009/09009.i-i.html

WHY?

As the Bill stands there would be a far greater chance of your dog committing an offence that would be subject to the law, seizure and possible destruction.

For example:

· Any act of aggression by your dog towards another animal or person can be deemed a reportable offence with potentially fatal consequences.

· How is your dog to know the difference between a trespasser and a burglar?

· If your dog chases a cat that could be deemed an offence

· Should your dog react to a child entering your garden to retrieve a lost ball is that an offence?

This Bill would remove your right to a trial by jury in a dog biting case, as it would seem that such offences could only be tried in the Magistrates' Court. Also, if you wanted to appeal against a Dog Control Notice, then there would be no form of Legal Aid available to do so.

Even those responsible for the most serious dog biting incidents would only face a reduced maximum fine of £5000 instead of the current unlimited fine and a maximum of 6 month jail as opposed to the current 2 years. Although the Bill refers to a maximum 51-week sentence Magistrates are currently only able to impose a maximum 6 month sentence.

It is great that this Bill would rescind breed specific legislation.

However, the worst case scenario would be that during the committee stages this is reintroduced and so leaving us with both BSL as well as the increased powers permitted by the Bill. DEFRA is currently consulting on dangerous dog related matters. Whilst not specifically looking at this particular Bill, DEFRA does ask for opinions on the law on breed specific legislation, dangerous dogs cases, Dog Control Notices as well as microchipping and insurance matters. It is vital that as many of us as possible make DEFRA aware our views on these matters, especially as this Bill is already before the House of Lords.

AND WHO WILL ENFORCE THIS BILL?

In all likelihood a local authority employee who may have had a few days training

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE YOU ONLY HAVE UNTIL 1ST JUNE TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.

Defra is conducting a consultation on this Bill and other dog related matters. It is vital that as many of us as possible make Defra aware how seriously this Bill could affect us, the responsible dog owners.

Get involved and forward this to as many people as possible.

This email originates from the SCSBTS Dog Control Bill sub-committee.

NOTE

When completing the Defra questionnaire be aware that when you reach the end and press "DONE" it will close so make sure you have said all you want before pressing "DONE".

There is no "print" option so if you want a record of what you have said try to "screen print" as you go.

Taken from the Norfolk Pet Rehoming site, with thanks.

From Dusk 'til Dawn
An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement

© Keith Mann
puppypincher@yahoo.co.uk