Dog Control and Welfare - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Contents


4  Conclusion

137.  The large number of responses to our call for evidence for this inquiry is testament to the public concern about dog control and welfare issues. However, there is an apparent lack of corresponding commitment from the Government to tackle the problems of out of control dogs and the health and welfare of dogs linked to poor breeding.

138.  Defra's proposals on tackling irresponsible dog ownership will do little to prevent dog attacks. Defra appears to have left responsibility for preventative measures to the Home Office to address in its antisocial behaviour measures but we were not persuaded that dog issues will be a priority under the Home Office 'one size fits all' framework for tackling antisocial behaviour. Defra and the Home Office must work together to give enforcement authorities the flexibility to act swiftly on concerns about a dog and its owner before they lead to aggressive action with devastating consequences for victims. The use of specific measures such as Dog Control Notices, already introduced in Scotland, could provide a far sharper tool for local authorities and police.

139.  We were disappointed that Defra has done little to improve dog welfare linked to dog breeding. Undoubtedly some bodies and breeders are trying to implement improvements so as to raise health and welfare standards, and some progress is being made. However that progress is too slow and inconsistent. There is an over-reliance on voluntary action from a community some of whose members have entrenched ideas at odds with the scientific evidence. We have concluded that significant improvements in the well-being of dogs will only be achieved if the Government empowers a body such as the Advisory Council on Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding to enforce regulations that apply to all breeders.


 
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Prepared 15 February 2013