London Local Authorities Bill [HL]
Wednesday 19 February 2003
740. A lot of these people want dogs. A lot of them
have dogs and this is the open space for them to exercise them.
They want a dog walker who can take their dog out, I am very happy
with that, and I see that as being a responsible dog owner that
the dog is exercised during the day. What I am not happy about
is irresponsible people taking dogs out and letting them off the
lead in the park.
741. I had sixteen dog walkers together at a meeting
I chaired two years ago and I said, "The time has come, you
have to have a voluntary code of conduct otherwise we will go
further". They signed this voluntary code of conduct and
within weeks they were flouting it. I told them again, "If
you do this I will take much firmer action".
742. One are two are excellent, some are cowboys.
I want them to come up, accept our rules, abide by our rules,
get a licence and when they prove they can handle 4 or 5 dogs
maybe we can let them have some more. There are 1 or 2 that can
handle more and would never let the dogs off the lead. What I
fear is a child or an adult is going to get mauled, and I think
that is going to happen soon.
743. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much you, Mr Stratton,
having said originally I thought this was a minor problem you
have now assured me, anyway, that you have a serious case here.
I for one are content for this to happen. I have a couple of small
questions, one is trivial, (a) is a professional dog walker, what
happens if a private individual owns 5 dogs?
(Mr Stratton) We had a person, and sadly she
has very recently died, who had 10 dogs, she was admirable. A
person who has that number of dogs in their house tends to exercise
them and be very responsible with them. We are looking at responsible,
dog ownership, not irresponsible professional dog walkers. Yes,
they get a licence, yes we give them advice, yes we make some
ground rules of where they could and could not go and yes I would
certainly say if you see another group of dogs avoid them like
the plague, we do not want large packs together.
744. CHAIRMAN: They would still have to get a licence.
(Mr Stratton) I would have no qualms giving
them a licence, if I did I am sure they would go to their elected
745. CHAIRMAN: The other question is that you refer
to training in subsection 2 (f). Who is going to decide on the
training? Who is going to give the training? Who is going to test
it? What are you going to require?
(Mr Stratton) My dog control officers are
a very professional team. The parks police also have 6 parks police
dogs. The dog control officers are very, very able at giving a
small amount of training that they need, it is not so much training,
it is dos and don'ts, "This is where you can go in the park,
this is a bottlenext you must avoid, these are the things
you can and you cannot do". They will sign up to it but once
they have signed I do not say you have them because they have
to abide by it, they have agreed to fulfil the rules.
746. LORD ELTON: In your additions apart you have
a rather charming phrase, "the method by which the person
walking the dog progresses himself is immaterial". If you
are going to train people I think you do need to know if they
are going to be on a bicycle or on a skateboard because the actual
control over the dog is going to be different from those exercised
on foot. I wonder if that was material after all?
747. MR LEWIS: As a matter of drafting the reason
the addition is there is to ensure that those who are exercising
their dogs on a bicycle or on skateboard or whatever else are
actually caught by these provisions, that is the reason for the
use of those words.
748. LORD ELTON: On drafting, if I may, on page 12,
line 17 designated under subsection 7 should I think be subsection
749. MR LEWIS: We have been given notice of your
two small drafting points and I agree with both of them.
750. LORD ELTON Good.
The witness withdrew
751. CHAIRMAN: That really concludes our consideration
of the Bill now. We will return at 2.15 and I hope I am right
in saying that all we need to do at that stage is to give our
decision on the Police Clause?
752. MR LEWIS: In fact on the whole Bill and prove
753. CHAIRMAN: We will now adjourn until 2.15.
After a Short Adjournment
754. CHAIRMAN: Good afternoon, we are nearly at the
end of proceedings. First of all I will give our pronouncement
on Clause 32. Our conclusion on Clause 32 is as the follows, we
agree to the recommendations of the Secretary of State that the
Clause should not proceed, it follows therefore that Schedule
6 to the Bill will also fall. Can I invite you, Mr Lewis, to do
the preamble proceedings, please.
755. MR LEWIS: I will ask Mr Kerrigan to take the
MR DONAL KERRIGAN, sworn
Examined by MR LEWIS
756. MR LEWIS: Perhaps before I start, my Lords,
I would just like to mention that this is the last occasion that
Mr Kerrigan will be swearing a preamble in this House at least,
probably the last time full stop because he is retiring in June.
He has become a bit of a serial preamble swearer.
757. Unfortunately Private Bills do not come by as
often as they used to. Mr Kerrigan has done this now since the
first London Local Authorities Bill, so it is his eighth time
in the London Local Authorities Bill, he has also done three City
of Westminster Bills and it brings to a conclusion a long career
in this particular field.
(Mr Kerrigan) I hope I get the answers right
758. CHAIRMAN: On behalf of us can I wish you a very
happy retirement, Mr Kerrigan. I am sorry in a way that these
Bills are not as frequent as they once were, I think we have all
enjoyed the last day and a half's proceedings.
759. LORD TORDOFF: Can I say, it is terrible to see
people retiring so young.