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How should dangerous dogs be tackled?

03:17 UK time, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

All dog owners will need insurance against their pet attacking someone, under a government plan. Is this the right way to tackle dangerous dogs?

Each week, more than 100 people are admitted to hospital after dog attacks. The government wants to amend the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, so that four dog types - including the pit bull terrier and the Japanese tosa - are banned from people's homes.

Another proposal is to introduce compulsory third-party insurance for all dog owners, to ensure victims of attacks are compensated. "Britain is a nation of animal lovers," said Home Secretary Alan Johnson, "but people have a fundamental right to feel safe on the streets and in their homes."

Should all dogs be insured? Would it make the UK safer? Are you a dog owner? Have you been the victim of a dog attack? How should we tackle dangerous dogs?

Comments

Page 1 of 12

  • Comment number 1.

    It is ridiculous to penalise the vast majority of dog owners for the actions of a few. Medical studies have shown that pet dogs are beneficial to the well being of many - particularly older people - in providing companionship etc. Also people walking their dogs provide a useful community service in providing unofficial citizen patrols of their neighbourhoods.

    And what is the "compensation" for? We have a free NHS. What cash payments are required?

  • Comment number 2.

    A dog cant bite someone if it is wearing a muzzle. forget the insurance just muzzle all dogs in public

  • Comment number 3.

    It seems to me yet again that the Government seeks to adopt a broad-brush, sweeping approach to this issue and penalises the vast majority of dog owners who are responsible owners as well as citizens. Surely the answer is to robustly deal with irresponsible owners and hit them with any financial sanction as opposed to forcing everyone else into feeling the pains. I agree that there is still to this day occasionally confusion as to what constitutes a dangerous dog, but at the end of the day, it is those owners who fail to control their animal who must be tackled, and not the rest of us. Having said that, the Government would argue that everyone should buy into the etthos of responsible dog ownership (which I do, owning 2 miniature daschunds), I just don't believe I should be paying for other people's irresponsibility.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Make it illegal to own un-neutered animals unless a licensed breeder, it would be the breeder's responsibility to make sure all animals sold were neutered unless they were sold to another licensed breeder.

    Every animal should be "chipped".

    Every owner should carry third party liability insurance.

  • Comment number 6.

    Dogs don't need insurance but it should be mandatory for politicians.

  • Comment number 7.

    Should some politicians be considered so dangerous they should be muzzled? what do you think Harriet?

  • Comment number 8.

    I checked the date. No it is not April the 1st. Who or how will this be enforced? We have had compulsory car insurance for years and there are still those who care nothing for the law driving without insurance. Those who are insured pay more to cover them. Do we expect all those who keep dangerous dogs to go out and insurance? I think not.
    What about making it compulsory for all MP’s to be insured so that we can claim if we suffer any more silly laws.
    What is needed, is that the current dog control act in enforced and those who break it receive severe sentences. Let the sleeping dogs lie.

  • Comment number 9.

    My sister has very recently become a dog owner to a little Shih Tzu/Yorkie cross. About the only thing she'd do to someone is love them to death.

    However it's true that many dogs are seen as status symbols and used as weapons by gangs and dog fighting circles. In her search for a dog my sister visited several dog homes all over the south and at least 80% to 90% of the dogs looking to be rehomed were Staffies.

    The problem needs to be addressed but not by penalising all dog owners!

  • Comment number 10.

    I would like to see all powerful dogs banned, owners punished for having dogs off the lead and for owners of dogs that injure someone to be charged with a crime as if they had themselves committed the attack.

    I am fed up with being approached by large dogs that are off the lead where they shouldn't be and the surprised look on their owners faces when I tell them to get their dog away from me.

    It seems madness to me to allow powerful pitt bulls and Tosas to be owned at all in this country. I know that owners of these dogs assure people they won't attack because their dog is so good natured but if that is sensible thinking then shouldn't most of us be allowed to carry knives and guns? After all, I'm a jolly nice chap and have no convictions for violence so I'm very unlikely to stab or shoot someone. These dogs are just weapons and are used to intimidate people. Ban them! (or we might as well legalise carrying of knives and guns, but only if you're not the violent type)

  • Comment number 11.

    Dog licence
    Dog insurance
    What about a Dog Test?

    Lets see who is fit to take on the road.

  • Comment number 12.

    This proposal by the current government is so typical of their "sledgehammer" approach to fixing a serious problem.
    So the many thousands of elderly Pensioners on a very limited financial budget who have a small dog as companion will have to pay another compulsary tax - sorry - "insurance premium" because of the selfish actions of a very small number of owners of large and dangerous breeds.
    The sooner the government publish this and any other really stupid ideas in their election manifesto, the better. Did someone say it came from the "Ministry of Silly Walks" ?

  • Comment number 13.

    A list should be made of all dangerous breeds, dogs that can be classified as fighting dogs. make it a criminal offence to own such a breed, and destroy all existing dogs in this category. Begin a new era of breeds that are friendly and useful. Make the police and the army the only class that can own guard and patrol type dogs. This does not mean getting rid of traditional breeds like the British bulldog.

  • Comment number 14.

    I own a 2.5 yr old intact, chipped labrador who is good at barking when the need arises, but would probably be no good as a guard dog: he is friendly with everybody, except perhaps those who do not like dogs. Dogs, like people, come in a variety of shapes, sizes and temperaments, and these factors can be affected by the way that they are treated. While I don't feel that I would opt for it voluntarily at the moment, I cannot object to compulsory 3rd party insurance. I have had dogs in the past that potentially could have nipped, despite any effort expended on training them. Morally, though, the premium would need to reflect actuarial reality rather than commercial profit if compulsion is involved. However, if this does occur, action would also need to be taken against those who regard the "ownership" of agressive dogs as a macho status symbol. My final comment relates to the post on muzzling of dogs in public. Is it proposed that working dogs (retrievers, pointers, fox hounds, sheep dogs, police dogs) should be muzzled? The bureaucrats would have a field day supervising the exemptions, and the rest of us would no doubt have to pay for them.

  • Comment number 15.


    What the general population might not know is that people ALREADY have this insurance automatically included on their householders/home insurance - it's called public liability insurance and this has been the case for at least 20 years. The government are assuming that none of us know this or study our policies to that much detail. Ergo they are assuming we're all stupid. Just another excuse for the government to raise money for their castles. Check your home insurance policies people.

  • Comment number 16.

    Another monumental waste of citizens' money. It seems that all politicians know how to do is make our lives harder in order to justify their existence. Here's a better solution: punish only the owners who have dogs that attack. Allow adults to be adults and make decisions for themselves, unless of course the govt. believes we are all too stupid to make the right decision.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think this would be a fantastic idea. I would even go further and support all dog owners being licenced by the local council. Whilst dogs can be breed to be dangerous, a lot of their behaviour also rests with their owners.

    I own a Pug, which by all accounts is the most friendly and good natured breed I have ever had the pleasure to come across.
    6 months ago it was attacked by a neighbours, two Stafforshire Bull Terriers. My dog was bitten in the eye and my wife was also bitten on the hand trying to rescue our dog. My dog required surgery and ended up losing his eye. My wife's injuries thankfully were minor but could have been potentially a lot worse. She still required hospital treatment.

    The dogs owner had no pet insurance and we were left to fit the bill for the cost of our dog's treatment. The matter was reported to the police but because the area where the attack took place was a communal garden the CPS appear unwilling to pursue a conviction against the owner.
    In my opinion the dogs owner was not fit to own dogs as she was unable to afford to adequatley care for he dogs. She did not walk them, could not afford pet insurance and when they required vetinary treatment this was claimed against from PDSA.

    The majority of dog owners are decent, people who love and care for their pet. They more than likely already have some sort of pet insurance which will include 3rd party liabilty so I don't really see how this proposal will affect them.

  • Comment number 18.

    I have a small dog. He has never attacked anyone. Is so soft and 'stupid' he might lick somebody to death. So our beloved dictators now want to penalise me because of a few morons who for some macho reason want ferocious dogs.

    Does anyone else see the gradual chipping away at personal freedoms in this country? What next, cats? Hamsters? They bite as well. How about freedom from greedy politicians? Or from a police state.

    Boy am I glad I am getting near the end of my life.

  • Comment number 19.

    I agree with the insurance plans. Don't get me wrong I am an animal lover, was brought up with them all my life as a kid. But i think the following should be done, owners need insurance as well as a licence and all dogs should be kept on leads in public places..parks etc..My partner is scared of any dog no matter how small, and what frightens her most is the fact that any dog can turn. Which is true especially as they innately inherit a pack instinct. When dogs get together their personalities can change and the owners may well lose that control they had over their dogs! i definitely agree if you have a dog then its a responsibility, too many children and adults have suffered at the negligence and irresponsibility of dog owners. The insurance would sort out who the serious owners are who care about the dogs and their environment and the idiots that have dogs as status symbols as it gives them some street credit?! Whats the world coming to, seems education is fast becoming a luxury!

  • Comment number 20.

    I've been attacked by quite ordinary dogs a few times over the years whilst out walking and the reaction of their owners has to be heard to be believed! "He's never done that before" and "You must done something to annoy her" being two fairly common responses. When some of my clothing was badly torn by a small dog that suddenly attacked me for no reason,I insisted that the owner pay for repairs,and after a lot of argument,including me threatening to go to the police,the dog owner acquiesced. I think many dog owners have a very blinkered view of the damage and injury their pets can inflict,especially on children. So yes,I think an insurance scheme would be a good idea for all dogs.In some areas there seem to be a lot of dogs just wandering free,so a collar and nametag should also be compulsory.

  • Comment number 21.

    Yes, insured or some sort of license to own a dog. I love dogs too when they are well trained, kept on a lead, cleaned up after. But too many are not looked after properly, are not trained, and are a menace. This does not affect those who are caring good dog owners. But dogs can be scary and violent if not looked after. My children are scared stiff of dogs and I am extremely wary near the larger ones. The number of people using them as violent status symbols is increasing. We keep having to cross the road to avoid one very violent looking specimen. This scheme is long overdue.

  • Comment number 22.

    Yes, it's a good idea. If dog owners are so convinced of their dogs safety; then the premium, which will surely follow the risk of a claim, should be minuscule. For the person who says the NHS is free so why be concerned; perhaps should write a few hundred lines on who ultimately pays for the services of the NHS?

  • Comment number 23.

    Its all very well making rules but enforcing them is another matter. It is against the law to use a mobile phone whilst drive but we all see people doing it and who enforces it. The police certainly don't. Yet another knee jerk reaction by this Government that responsible people and dog owners will end up having to pay for.

  • Comment number 24.

    thats the idea ALAN JHONSON britains is a nation of dog lovers so tell you what lets make some more money out of the people lets call it dangerous dogs but really its another stelth tax what a clock and dagger idea ALEN well done LETS BLEED THE PEOPLE OF THE UK DRY

  • Comment number 25.

    Another day, another "initiative". More scattergun proposed legislation with the opportunity for a government body to levy fines etc but don't expect the serial law breakers to ever pay a fine or be punished. What next, cyclists, hill walkers indeed anyone that leaves their home and thereby represents a potential risk or threat to everyone else. How about first sorting out the UK economy or is that the elephant in the room?

  • Comment number 26.

    This is quite a bad idea i think really, ALL dogs have insurance, whats a chiuaua going to do to anyone, its not like its going to hurt you is it?

  • Comment number 27.

    PERSECUTE THE GUILTY !!

    MP's really need to be qualified as nowadays all they are capable of is knee jerk reactions to events. Their remedy each time something major happens is to persecute the masses for the sake of a small minority od bad-un's. You realy would think in this day and age where everybody with a public responsibility has to be considered fit for purpose, that would include MP's,,,, but of course not. They'd never give up the gravy train, ha!

  • Comment number 28.

    "It is ridiculous to penalise the vast majority of dog owners for the actions of a few. " RedMorgie

    Doesn't this also apply to car drivers? Most people don't get their cars stolen or have accidents, but we all pay for insurance, and at a higher rate, to support those who do claim.

    The consequences of dog attacks are costly in terms of suffering and of legal and medical costs. The owner is the one who should pay.

  • Comment number 29.

    It's a good idea, it will give us a second thought in owning dangerous dogs.
    In my early life, I used to take a long walk to home to avoid my neighbours unruly dog(not sure if it is unleashed) and the midnight chorus that my family had to cope with.

  • Comment number 30.

    I am sure it will come as a great source of comfort to the person who is suffering a frenzied attack from an animal that has been deemed by parliament, to not be allowed into our country.

    The thought of all that "Compo" should help to calm the victim, as he is airlifted to hospital.

    But imagine the anguish, when the compensation is not forthcoming !
    What insurance company is going to insure a dangerous, exempt breed ?

  • Comment number 31.

    The delicious irony of posts #4 and #6 demand attention and they got mine!

    Dogs, pack animals who know how to spot a leader, have been spying on a certain former postman for a long time, to the time he was first delivering post. They loved his fresh smell as he arrived at the garden gate and his great sense of fun as he ran shouting and screaming from the garden letters flying everywhere at their friendly chase, barks, gnashing teeth and growls. They loved his acrobatic somersaults, his tumbles into the nettles, his tree climbing antics. HE WAS FUN...!

    Now it seems the postman thinks it is time to bite back, and the dogs are looking bewildered. Doesn't he understand them any more, has he stopped being their playmate?


  • Comment number 32.

    Brilliant is the only word for this. I can see a horde of chavs dutifully complying without exception as they do now with things like car insurance.

    Penalise the majority for the actions of a minority. That's the new slogan for the Teenies.

  • Comment number 33.

    Neuter, chip, muzzle, innoculate and licence all dogs. The only exception should be working dogs and registered breeding dogs. Ban all puppy farms and make it compulsory to clean up after your pet. All dogs should be a joy to everyone and a nuisance to no-one.

  • Comment number 34.

    simple answer to simple question YES they should be made to take out insurance or face a jail sentence. If their dog attacks anyone and they are not insured just make it a very heave jail sentence....

  • Comment number 35.

    when i was in intermediate school i have been attacked by a dog and since that time i hate the scene of dogs in the streets, all dogs should be insured and tied inside the owner house.

  • Comment number 36.

    And in addition to make it enforceable. Any dog found without chip, insurance or lead should be destroyed immediately. Enough being soft with these dogs and their owners. I am sick of being intimidated by big dogs. They are offensive. And if you're on a public street get them on a lead whatever the size of dog. Owners might think fido is friendly - I hate that they run at me and my family.

  • Comment number 37.

    "What next, cats? Hamsters? They bite as well. How about freedom from greedy politicians? Or from a police state." Peter Hodge

    I couldn't believe my eyes when I read this one. You shouldn't worry too much Peter until people start taking their cats and hamsters for a walk in the park.

    I can see it now. A SWAT squad descending on a little old lady after her rampant hamster savages a mother of two. We could even have hamster cams in every park with footage being shown on Crimewatch. Police state indeed. Grow up!!

  • Comment number 38.

    I am delighted that dog owners will be made responsible for their pets. I live by a regular dog walk route, where dog owners let their animals roam off lead. Some have entered my property and savaged my pet chickens. When confronted, the owners always use the same ludicrous defence. 'Hes never done that before', 'oh hes the softest animal'. They seem happy that their dogs chase pheasants or my chickens. Somehow they see it as just a 'sweet' thing dogs do and are blind to the fact that their dog is actually a hunter killer to other wild life and other peoples pets.
    Owners seem blind to the fact that other people may not want a dogs, I welcome this bit of government interference to force dog owners realise their responsibility.

  • Comment number 39.

    I own a German Sheppard dog, he has been micro chipped and insured from the moment I got him as have all my other dogs before him, and its called owner responsibility. He is always on a lead when out and about but this still does not stop brainless morons or their stupid kids coming up to him and trying to stroke or hug him which he does not like.

    Also it is estimated that 2 million people in this country drive without car insurance with impunity because even if caught they get away with it almost scot free so what makes you think that irresponsible dog owners will bother with chipping or insurance, and can we please not turn this debate into a forum for all the dog haters out there your views are already well known.

    Oh and in reply to (At 04:04am on 09 Mar 2010, th3_0r4cl3 wrote:) I would happily muzzle my dog as long as you and everyone like you gags your kids and grandkids (AKA SCREAMING UNCONTROLABLE LITTLE BRATTS) in public until they have reached at least 12 because your hatred of dogs is matched by my contempt of other people and their little darlings who constantly ruin a good day out for everyone else, maybe they should also be microchiped and insured.

  • Comment number 40.

    Here we go again. Like HIPS another stealth tax from the Tax, Tax Tax Labour administration. Insurance does not make you safe, how many "accidents" caused by idiots in cars are made safe by insurance. It has been said before that the law covers this problem and it is not enforces, just as the mobile phone law is ignored.

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't have a problem with certain fighting breeds being completely banned but to punish all dog owners for the poor behaviour of a few (in Johnson's own words "The vast majority of dog owners are responsible...") is reprehensible and another example of this labour government's inability to apply existing legislation properly and add yet another tax burden (for that is effectively what this amounts to) to the populace.

  • Comment number 42.

    As a responsible dog owner who has pet insurance I agree that a stronger approach to bad dog owners is taken. There seems to be certain types of dogs and dog owners who cannot control their dogs. For example Staffordshire Terriers (Staffies)seem to be used as a status symbol among young men.

  • Comment number 43.

    This is the funniest yet....DOG TAX!

    Watch the insurance premiums rocket for this as the number of scammers get 'bitten' by dangerous dogs, e.g. poodles, jack russels, etc

  • Comment number 44.

    I am not sure this is the way to go - I cannot see it being enforced, nor will the members of society who enjoy having dangerous dogs, complying.

    The dogs themselves are not dangerous - it is the individual owners who make them so. Witness the dogs who have harmed humans - usually the owners are drug dealers, have been abusive to their dogs, kept them tied up, scared them by keeping them outside with fireworks going off, and often simply encouraged aggression to humans and other dogs.

    It is my belief that to get real results, we need to do 2 things - look at the whole culture behind "dangerous dogs" and tackle things from that angle, and also listen to people who understand dog behaviour such as educated and experienced animal behaviour counsellors, for their advice on tacklling the problem.

    Personally, I insure my dogs third party and that should be enough. (I am also a responsible dog trainer so my dogs are under control, taught by non harsh methods).

    Always it seems the government tackles things the wrong way. Listen to the experts in dog behaviour and work on the human problem.

    Lastly, the dogs that are "dangerous" are not inherently dangerous to humans - the opposite applies. They were bred to be amenable to humans historically. It is the environment they are now brought up in, that's the problem - owners encouraging aggression to humans.

  • Comment number 45.

    Here's the first tax rise folks.....

    Poll Tax?....No
    Air Tax?.....No


    Dog Tax?....YES!

  • Comment number 46.

    100 out of 64 million, I thought we had a major problem in this Country the Financial Scandal and the Iraq inquiry, what a way to distract the voters, so lets look at this if injuries are so important in the national
    interest , how many old folk died From cold last year in the UK ? answer 25000 so take out private insurance by law, how many people tripped over badly maintained Pavements ?take out private insurance by law, how many people went to Hospital falling down the stairs take out private Insurance by law,and so on, you can add to the list.
    This is no more than a distraction because we are a nation of in the main animal lovers.
    Nice try. BUT IT WILL NOT WORK PLEASE GIVE US A BIT MORE INTELLIGENCE BIG BROTHER

  • Comment number 47.

    Wrong remedy - yet again. This is a blanket solution to a specific problem which will be un-enforceable. I can just see it now, WAYNE HOODY being asked everso politely to produce his insurance docs on request....mmmmm...that should work, NOT.
    Ban the dangerous breeds and ensure dogs are on leads when in public. Unfortunately, just like littering, vandalsim, noise, dog fouling, minor theft, driving when un-insured, etc etc, this tax would penalise the law-abiding minority and be ignored by the majority, CHAV UK. Anyone got a spare visa for New Zealand?

  • Comment number 48.

    I have no doubt that this will follow the usual course of all recent government "initiatives", i.e. old widow Jones living off her pension will be hassled into paying several hundred pounds a year to have her lapdog chipped and insured, while Wayne and his pitbull, who won't comply with the legislation, will not be pursued.

  • Comment number 49.

    33. At 06:24am on 09 Mar 2010, coffee rider wrote:
    ...clean up after your pet.
    ----
    Does that include horses, too?

  • Comment number 50.

    Perhaps this will encourage more fuel efficient dogs with a lower carbon footprint !
    Global warming every little dog helps !

  • Comment number 51.

    Morning,
    We are getting our new puppy in four weeks time when she'll be 6 weeks old.(a Cocker Spaniel) We fully intend on continuing the 6 weeks insurance she comes with and she will be microchipped. We have two horses and they are fully insured too. I agree dogs should be insured whether they class as dangerous dogs etc however good your dog is there's no guarantee they will be good always. I'm always vary with dogs I dont know and tell my children to do the same (they are sensible, 12 and 14 years old) but dogs like people have bad days too......
    Linda A Smith
    Shropshire

  • Comment number 52.

    Have the politicians been jailed yet?
    Are we insured?
    Why do we still listen to these crooks?

  • Comment number 53.

    Once again the majority are being penalised for the actions of the idiotic few. We the public and the authorities are well aware who these people are but the authoriites deem it necessary to punish everyone. The kids who have these dogs are nothing but a drain on society, I suspect most are paid for by taxpayers and yet to look at thier swagger and arrogance anyone would they all owe us.

    Its about time this pathetic little 'gang' culture was dealt with preferably by a government who has some backbone and stop penalising those who have done nothing. Its no good the government and do gooding bodies complaining we shouldn't just blame a few hoodies, well why not? Its a few hoodies that are making life miserable for thousands od people, lets make life miserable for them for a change. Of course doing so would cost the government and probably infringe on they're human rights, obviously the rest of us don't have any.

  • Comment number 54.

    The irresponsible dog owners who have vicious dogs are hardly likely to obey laws to insure and the increase in the cost of dog ownership could cause an increase in the number of dogs handed to shelters for re-homing.

  • Comment number 55.

    I'm with 'coffee rider', Comment 33, on this, as far too many people have several dogs when they aren't fit to own one. As long any half-wit is allowed to own as many dogs as they like the problem will persist. It's hopeless tackling specific breeds, as so many cross-breeds exist. I also think that ownership of some distinct breeds should be restricted to (for example) the Police, the Military, and (maybe) security companies. They should simply not be available as 'family pets'.

  • Comment number 56.

    Cofferider, number 33, perhaps we ought to apply the same conditions on children, after all most of them seem to run round entirely without supervision because ' they're so grown up'! The problem with these dogs are people problems not dog problems pretty much the same as everything else.

  • Comment number 57.

    Is this dog insurance going to be like car insurance? I.e. in the hands of private companies with an overriding mandate to make a profit? Roy Smith thinks that "If dog owners are so convinced of their dogs safety; then the premium, which will surely follow the risk of a claim, should be minuscule." What the dog owners think is irrelevant, it will aways come down to the "interpretation" of the insurance companies.

    How long do you think it will be before someone kicks a dog to deliberately get it to bite them, just so that they can claim a settlement on the owners insurance. Or even if someone just feels scared of the dog, probably because they've never had one themselves. As KAOwen states "I am sick of being intimidated by big dogs. They are offensive - I hate that they run at me and my family." Well I was raised with big dogs, and have no fear of them at all...just understanding and respect.

  • Comment number 58.

    Short answer is yes they should be insured as should cyclists and the drivers of small propelled vehicles driven on the roads and pavements.

  • Comment number 59.

    The usual ham-fisted approach we have come to expect from mediocre politicians - don't bother to deal with a problem, just pester the law-abiding even further.

    As for dogs, how about teaching especially children how to approach them correctly? When I had two large, well-trained, socialble dogs I showed all the local youngsters how to allow them to see you coming, make no sudden moves, offer the back of a hand to sniff and always let the dog take the final move to you.

  • Comment number 60.

    Forgot to add my horses are microchipped as well! But regarding the insurance he's talking about be it car etc isn't it always the responsible owners who insure??????????
    Linda A Smith
    Shropshire

  • Comment number 61.

    2. At 04:04am on 09 Mar 2010, th3_0r4cl3 wrote:

    A dog cant bite someone if it is wearing a muzzle. forget the insurance just muzzle all dogs in public

    You know I am really sick and fed up of these comments. Most dogs are like my dog and only use their mouths to eat and play ball. Muzzling all dogs in public would be unfair, cruel and despotic.

    If any living beings should be 'muzzled' in public it is those members of society who seem to exist only to cause tro uble for others - and those are without exception PEOPLE. They do way more damage than even the worst dogs.

    Third party insurance for dogs - yeah sure BUT only when parents have it to pay for the damage their children do.

  • Comment number 62.

    Here we go again. Another 'stealth tax'

    ANY dog is capable of injuring or killing, lets face it they cant just turn around and say 'ouch, you are hurting me'

    I recall a story i once heard about a boy who, finding himself locked out of his grandmothers as he'd lost his key, climbed the back fence and was killed by his grandmothers greyhounds.

    I agree with micro-chipping, but this insurance thing ......is it 1st of April?

  • Comment number 63.

    How much has Alan Johnson received from the insurance companies to suggest boosting their profits by making us all have extra insurance? It will only be the law abiding who have to get insurance, as many others have pointed out those who offend won't bother with insurance as they don't bother with things like car insurance

  • Comment number 64.

    Oh dear, more pointless meddling by a government that ought to have more important things to do. Why not do the blindingly obvious and apply existing legislation? The vast majority of dog owners should be left to their own devices. Dangerous dogs are already clearly defined and are not invisible to the naked eye. The police must have a pretty good idea of who owns the dogs in question and where they hang out. 'Excuse me, sir, do you have a license for your mutt?'.'No?'. 'Oh, well, hard luck, sir, we'll have to cart it off to be put down and you will be required to accompany us to the station to answer a few questions.' See, it's not so difficult after all.

  • Comment number 65.

    No, this is now getting ridiculous how much bureaucracy is needed to do anything these days., What would be next, muzzle and insure kids under 18 who legally aren’t responsible for themselves? The governement are wrapping so many things in red tape or taxing everything else that encourages apathy.

  • Comment number 66.

    Oh No! Here we go again!
    Why oh why is this Government's answer for everything to introduce yet more legislation? Do they seriously think that those responsible for the majority of dog related crime will take the slightest bit of notice?
    There is plenty of legislation already - what is needed is some serious enforcement!

  • Comment number 67.

    When are the Government going to wake up to the real issue with "Dangerous dogs"?
    I was an Animal welfare officer for many year and in my experience the problem is always the owners.
    These people dont care. 9 times out of 10, the same people with whom you have a problem with a fighting dog will be the same people the police have Violence, theft, car offences and drugs problems with. The dont car about some stupid registration process or micro chipping. They dont insure their cars and are usually benefit cheats so why would they bother about their dog?
    Its these people that need to be cracked down on. But this is a problem we just dont address. They walk through life barely touched by the justice system doing what they like and living off our taxes. Every MP should be dropped in to the middle of a council estate with out his assistants and see how long they last. Just to get a rwal understanding of the country they are supposed to be leading.
    In America, although they do have these dog fighting problems, they dont blame the dogs. The Humane societies and Police work together to combat the people who own them because the they are aware that with the fighting usually comes a list of other offenses.
    Here, as a welfare officer, we have no support. This is why I left the post that I'd studdied to be for many years.
    I was sent to a job to collect a mis-treated puppy. wWe were attacked by a group of 10 men with baseball bats. On returning to the office I went straight to the head of our depart (who was on £70,000 a year and was no where near as educated or experienced as me) to complain that this was getting out of order as it was becoming a regular occurance and I wanted the stab vest etc that I had been requesting. Only to be told there was no money for it and that He'd also had a threatening phone call that day so he knew how I felt!
    I said well next time you go deal with the angry guys with baseball bats amd I'll answer the phone!

    Dave Hopkinson, Blackburn

  • Comment number 68.

    I have just watched the interview with Alan Johnson when he suggested micro-chipping all dogs. At our local stables they found a rotweiler, with attitude, who was abandoned. It was micro-chipped and when the owners were contacted they said they had sold the dog and forgotten to change their details?????????? I rest my case! P.s. The roti is now a reformed character and has a home for life.

  • Comment number 69.

    if the government are contemplating making insurance mandatory for dog owners, shouldn't they also demand that parents insure their children? Premiums would increase of course as more claims are made. That would benefit a much larger percentage of the population.

  • Comment number 70.

    I think this is a good idea, dogs should be insured, but it will be like cars, the responsible will do it, the irresponsible wont, so how will it work?

    I have two terriers, not of the type considered dangerous, however, I think under certain circumstances any dog can snap; so being a good dog owner I decided to purchase third party liability insurance, just in case.

    It seems one can not purchase TPL insurance on its own for dogs, only as part of a general pet insurance which covers dogs illnesses etc. which I don't want, or if you are lucky as part of your house insurance (and you have to really search for that!). Why oh why, can't I just buy TPL??

    So at present I have no insurance for my dogs, as I don't want to be forced to purchase unwanted additional cover...........come on insurance companies help us out here. Then a few more of us might do this voluntarily!

  • Comment number 71.

    I can see the ads on day-time TV now :

    Been bitten ? Nipped on the ankle ? Not your fault ? Then call Dog-Lawyers For U !

    Where's there's a nip - there's claim !

  • Comment number 72.

    Dog insurance and microchipping I have no issue with. What I do have a problem is people having dogs that they can't control. Closer vetting of potential dog owners needs to be looked at. We recently had a vicious attack on livestock, which is lucky to be alive, and a week later the same dog attacked a person. The crown court gave the owner £100 fine and was told to keep dog muzzled after the police assured us that the dog would be destroyed. The dog can't muzzle itself and I can't believe this responsibility is left with such an irresponsible dog owner.

  • Comment number 73.

    54. At 07:00am on 09 Mar 2010, Peter Hoath wrote:

    The irresponsible dog owners who have vicious dogs are hardly likely to obey laws to insure and the increase in the cost of dog ownership could cause an increase in the number of dogs handed to shelters for re-homing.

    Yes, but there's a problem with that. There may be many more dogs handed in for rehoming - but what would the insurance costs be for such dogs? They would be an unknown quantity and therefore may cost more to insure meaning many would go instead to buy puppies...hence more dogs...hence more breeding...hence more unwanted dogs.

    Apparently the fourth most popular dog in the UK is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier - but shelters are bursting with these dogs. For being so popular it doesn't seem many people want them. I have had various rescue dogs for 30+ years (mostly cross collies) - and would not want a Staffie. I don't know any owners of rescue dogs who do want one either.

    Interestingly as a dog owner of many years I have NEVER seen a rottweiller, german shepherd or staffie owner pick up after their dog. I have also seen many of these dogs never let off the lead as they will attack other dogs.

  • Comment number 74.

    Oh dear!
    I agree with the principle of responsible dog ownership for all, but how can it be enforced?
    Do we follow the 'automobile' route where every dog found without insurance goes to the 'dog crusher'!

  • Comment number 75.

    I agree with No 48 comment. My mum (77) whose Yorkie is microchipped was fined by the local council for walking her in the local cemetry. Mum cleans up after her dog, she is never off the lead, and at the time Mum was picking up discarded needles, cans, and bottles and other peoples dog waste left by the local scum! She paid the fine despite the fact she has walked in the cemetery with her dogs for over 50 years because she felt like a criminal. She was stopped by community police, easy day's work we think and a number for the statitics. Get real.

  • Comment number 76.

    As the owner of 2 dogs I already have them covered by insurance. I think it is a good idea to make all dog owners have 3rd party insurance and health insurance for their beloved friends.

  • Comment number 77.

    If dangerous dogs are a problem then prosecute the owners and put down the offending dog , a bad tempered dog is doing the what comes naturally to it, if the owner cannot control it, the animal should be taken away, i live near a doggy beach and i love to see the dogs running around and playing, most owners are very good , so its a shame that the few make waves for everyone....but having said that one child bitten and maimed by a rogue dog makes it bad for all. responsible owners are a must and those that are not , the law should step in.

  • Comment number 78.

    Oh yeah, like the ganster rapper thugs are going to take notice of this "tax". Once again we see the law aribing peoples' being punished for actions of a minority.

    Labour, Soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime.

  • Comment number 79.

    Typical: introduce legislation without thought for the enforcement. Remember the dog licence? Remember banning hunting with dogs? Remember banning the use of mobile phones whilst driving? All laudable and all unenforceable or, in the case of hunting, unenforced.

  • Comment number 80.

    yes they should be insured. All Dogs are pack animals and will defend the pack if threatened or distressed. I have two dogs and would leave my children with neither of them, not because they are dangerous but because you never know.
    They should also be chipped and vacinated by law. I live in France and this is mandatory here.
    The problem is that the responsible owners will comply, those that are not will not comply. The eternal problem.

  • Comment number 81.

    Only if the same is put in place for 'childrens owners'.
    Children cause more damage, noise & stress than any dog.
    Make parents take out insurance to cover the cost of 'damage' caused to other people.

  • Comment number 82.

    "Yes all dogs should have one, and most of they owners'" All dogs are dangerous if they are not trained right and looked after ? Too many people who have big or strong dogs have no idea how to look after them.

  • Comment number 83.

    I have owned large dogs for my whole life, more than a dozen of them by now. Not a single one of them has ever attacked or bitten anybody. Thay have all been well-trained and good natured - because I have taken the time to train them from puppies. Why, then, are you going to penalise *me* as a responsible dog owner for the actions of those chavs who choose to own Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Rotweillers which they fail to train?

    What the government *should* be doing is realising that there's an extremely strong correlation (in my experience) between people being on benefits and owning badly trained "dangerous breeds" (a nonsense phrase - no breed is dangerous if trained properly) and ban long-term benefits receivers from owning dogs. I'm serious.

  • Comment number 84.

    As a responsible dog owner, I have no objection to government control on the ownership of any animal with the potential to cause harm to people or property, and I should licencing be reintroduced, I will be one of those owners who pays their fees without any complaint. Both of my dogs are microchipped and insured, and I factored this cost in before taking on the responsibility of owning my pets.

    However, I simply could not believe what I heard from Alan Johnson this morning: he states that microchipping is important in order to prove ownership of illegal breeds! Is this the level of intelligence of those running our country? Who on earth would take an ILLEGAL breed of dog to a vet to be microchipped? Would Mr Johnson also think that gang members might dutifully trot along to a police station with their illegal arms?

    Bring in controls by all means, but firstly give them a bit of intelligent thought, and secondly have a workable plan of enforcement!

  • Comment number 85.

    Does anyone seriously think that the sort of people who breed and keep these dogs as weapons to intimidate others are going to bother with insurance and microchipping?
    Remember the legislation which banned the legal possession of handguns, it did not make a blind bit of difference to criminals, they ignored it and exactly the same will happen here.
    I am sure existing legislation can be ammended to be more effective that microchipping and insurance.

  • Comment number 86.

    Stupidity reigns supreme in government circles once again.

    The very people that this 'proposal' is meant to target are the very people who would be most likely to ignore their legal responsibilities. Leaving all other law abiding citizens to carry the financial burden yet again.

    Current sentencing for those that abuse animals is pathetic, we need stiffer sentencing and harsher penalties, and not to 'tax' everyone because of the actions of the minority. This is unfair and unjust in any kind of ordered society.

  • Comment number 87.

    Another 'What can we tax next' proposal for a government that aren't safe in the public domain. All ministers should be muzzled to stop them sprouting bureaucratic nonsense. They must come and live in the real world where in some cases it is 'dog eat dog'.

  • Comment number 88.

    Any dog should be destryed immediately after it has bitten someone, no second chance, and the owner picks up ALL court etc costs.
    All dogs, no matter what breed, should wear a muzzle when out of their owners property, and any dog not on a lead taken away from the owner.
    Time to get tough to save lives and worries.

  • Comment number 89.

    The type of people who use dogs as weapons do not even bother to have insurance on their cars so what chance is there of them taking out insurance on their dogs?

  • Comment number 90.

    Hello, in my opinion insurance will not deal with this problem, but if it will help the victims thats good. my concerns came to light before Christmas when i responded to a request from a Dog Rescue centre in Newcastle Upon Tyne - I Donated dog food and I asked staff if myself, husband and grandson have a look around so that my grandson could see the dogs that the food would go too. We were horrified to see all the dogs were of the dangerous type, the whole experience was disturbing. Again last month we visited another Rescue Centre in Lonbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne with fleece blankets. This centre again full with same type dogs. They were all very fierce and aggressive. The cost to these centres trying to do a great service...Should something be done with control of breeding these dogs as we know the people these dogs are going to and when they are fed up this is where they end up. These are charity run organisations and cannot really cope. also who wants to take on a dangerous dog.....REALLY REALLY CONCERNED DOG LOVER.....(not this type though)

  • Comment number 91.

    Has the government really even thought about what they are suggesting here? They clearly are making noises regarding insurance to cover the few dogs whom do pose a treat, do they really think someone who has a dangerous breed is going to go to the authorities and try and get insurance on an illegal dog..? This could also back fire, as if dog owners are insured then they'll be more willing for it to attack as they are covered. What the government need to do is actually in force the existing laws and remove the dangerous breeds that they already know about and give hard punishment to the few that openly flaunt these laws. What will they do next change a our statutory rights so shop lifters can get a refund?

  • Comment number 92.

    It was the Tories who rushed through a bill to ban ownership of certain dogs.The law passed at the time was said to be full of holes and it has never been updated to stop the ownership of dangerous dogs.There are certain breeds of dogs which are highly strung and are very unpredictable and only owned by professionals or if not workable banned altogether.We used to have a dog licence which was scrapped because it cost to much to collect.Yet another tax is not the answer or enforceable if you look at the number of alledged car tax dodgers.The owners of dangerous dogs are the ones who should be tagged and chipped because they are not animal lovers they are neanderthals.Perhaps its time to start banning ownership of animals for idiots who cannot accept responsibility in our society.Dont blame the dogs-there is enough cruelity already.

  • Comment number 93.

    I strongly agree.

  • Comment number 94.

    I am sure the insurance tax would come in handy to the Government right now.

    Think about it.

  • Comment number 95.

    Compulsory dog insurance will see just one thing happen, the cost of dog insurance go through the roof as the insurance companies will see it as a captive market, just like with car insurance.

    The idea that the dogs aren't the problem, the owners are is easy to prove: for every incident that is reported, (usually involving small children and the "devil dog" breed of the week), there are hundreds, if not thousands of dogs, kept as pets or working dogs who DON'T attack or maul their owners or "innocent" passers by, but then, that's hardly news is it?

    Something that's rarely, if ever, investigated is WHY the dog attacked. Dogs, like people, very very rarely attack for no reason at all and some basic questions need to be asked:

    1) Has the dog in question been properly socialised towards other people and other animals by the people that raised it?
    2) What was the "victim" doing prior to the attack?
    3) Had the "victim" been warned off either by the owner, or the dog prior to the attack?

    Very very rarely you'll find a dog with a head full of bad wiring, (in the same way it's very very rare to find a full blown sociopath in the human species), but the majority of the time, a dog will simply be the product of the way it has been brought up, in that respect, no different to a child. Or to paraphrase, if you think the dog has a problem, you're looking at the wrong end of the lead.

    As has been pointed out, this is just a very poor attempt to find a scapegoat, (scapedog?), in the run up to the election and for this poor excuse of a government to try and be seen to be doing something rather than taking a risk and actually doing something useful instead.

  • Comment number 96.

    Considering todays litigation society, "dog insurance for all" will be a license for con men to print money. This happens with dodgy car insurance claims, claims against councils for tripping over pavements.

    The real problem is that the police are NOT enforcing the 1991 DDA, and since it's conception, breeds like the American BullDog have entered the UK - where as I don't ever recall Dogo Argentinos being in the country, the only Fila Brasilieros were at the Brazillian Embassy, and may be one Japanese Tosa. However there were thousands of pit bulls and pit bull staffie crosses.

  • Comment number 97.

    Is there nothing this government wont interfere in?

  • Comment number 98.

    The people who need to take out dog insurance don't even bother to insure their cars. This idea is ill thought out.

  • Comment number 99.

    This is what happens when you vote in left wingers, a totalitarian approach to everything. Everyone is charged, everyone penalised.

    Stalin would be proud of some of Labour's totalitarian/nanny state/police state methods.

    I wonder if the government plan on getting some sort of tax reward from each insurance policy.

  • Comment number 100.

    We need to do the same with cats, too. They can be vicious little so-and-sos when they feel like. Come to think of it, hamsters are no little darlings either. So let's make sure they get the same treatment. And then of course, goldfish. Have you seen what a goldfish can do to a submarine castle ? Them too, then. And worms, they should be chipped too, and insured. They're right out of control, they are.

    Then we'll be safe, and we can rest secure in our little cotton-wool world, working and shopping, working and shopping, working and shopping until we keel over, having led lives of model citizenship, tagged, watched and fined until the very end.

 

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