Dangerous dogs bill 'does not go far enough'

Deputy London Mayor Kit Malthouse has said tough new measures proposed to tackle dangerous dogs "do not go far enough".

The Dog Control Bill, proposed by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Redesdale, targets owners of out-of-control dogs, rather than targeting certain breeds.

The bill will receive its second reading in the House of Lords on Friday.

But Mr Malthouse said: "The bill doesn't go far enough."

If passed, the bill will introduce major changes to current dangerous dog legislation, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Changes proposed include more emphasis on the owners' responsibility, attacks which take place on private property becoming a criminal offence, and legislation no longer being breed specific.

'Irresponsible owners'

Mr Malthouse, who is also the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said the bill "gets rid of the idea of banned breeds, and we think there are certain breeds that are used as weapons in London that need to be got rid of entirely."

He added: "These dogs are often used as weapons and we want to see them treated as that way through the legislation."

The Dogs Trust, which has published figures to show dog attacks in London have risen by nearly 80% in five years, is backing the new bill.

Dogs Trust veterinary director Chris Laurence said: "Just because a dog looks in a certain way, doesn't mean it's going to act in a certain way."

"The way a dog behaves at the end of the day is very largely down to the way that the owner trains and rears the dog."

Lord Redesdale said: "People deserve to feel safe around dogs and this bill goes a long way towards protecting the public through tougher action against irresponsible dog owners.

"The current law has done nothing but make banned breeds and their lookalikes more appealing and created the issue of status dogs because they are a status symbol."

The Metropolitan Police were unable to provide the latest figures on dog attacks in London over the past five years.

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