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Our Dog Owners' Charter - your ideas?

Victoria Derbyshire | 12:47 UK time, Tuesday, 3 June 2008

When we covered dangerous dogs on Tuesday morning, one of my guests in the studio was Ryan O'Mara, Editor of "K9 Magazine" and professional dog trainer. He brought his dog, a Rottweiler called Mia. Here's a couple of pictures of Ryan and Mia.

Ryan O'Mara and his Rottweiler Mia
Ryan O'Mara's Rottweiler Mia

Ryan said that the current Dangerous Dogs Act doesn't work - he came up with the Dog Owners' Charter: a test that every potential dog owner must pass in order to be responsible for a dog.

Have a listen to Ryan's charter here (4m 49s).

You've already got some ideas of your own about what should be included, and how the Dangerous Dogs Act should be amended. Here are a few of your suggestions that you've texted or emailed me with:

Kevin, a dog owner and Crufts exhibitor, emailed us:

"The requirement for third-party insurance for all dogs would solve many of the issues raised in your programme. A 17 year-old lad with a Staffy would have a huge premium, but an old lady with a toy poodle would have a minimal insurance cost. Disounts could be available for people who trained their dogs, in the same way advanced drivers get car insurance discounts."

Maz emailed to say:


Just wanted to say that I agree with the test and also agree that it would be very hard to make compulsary - however, I think that in the meantime this test could be bought in straightaway for people who are re-homing a dog from a Dogs' home (Dogs Trust etc). More and more people re-home dogs so it would be a good way to start the test scheme.

Steve emailed to say we should muzzle all dogs:

I was in Heaton Park Manchester a couple of months ago, when 2 pit bull type dogs were walked passed me by a single person. 100 yards further on one dog attacked a spaniel, locked its jaws around it, and it took 2 or 3 people to get the animal to release. I was out with my 2 young children at the time (aged 4 and 2) so didn't stick around to see how bad the injury was. My point is that even when a dog is on a leash it can attack. For this reason I believe all dangerous dogs should be muzzled in public.

And here are a couple of texts. Gary in Selsdon says:

What about smaller breeds for less experienced owners? A hoodie with a poodle? Problem solved.

Steve in Liverpool texted to say:

Why not set a minimum age of 30 to own a dog? By then, most people are aware of the time and financial commitment a dog requires. Plus, at that age many will have young children, thus reducing demand for large, potentially dangerous dogs.

Finally, this from Cliff in Swindon:

I had to sit through a two-hour lecture with The Dogs' Trust before I was allowed to take my puppy home.

But what do you think? Do you have an idea for how to deal with dangerous dogs? What question would you ask potential dog owners as part of our Dog Owners' Charter? Add your comments and ideas below.

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