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Angela is asking Parliament to change the law to secure legal protection for those unfortunate people who are attacked by dogs in people’s homes or gardens.

At present it is difficult for the police to prosecute the owners of dogs if the attack takes place on private property. Angela believes this is wrong. She is supported in her campaign by the RSPCA and the CWU, the Trade Union representing Postal Workers, which also believes it is imperative that dog owners take full responsibility for their pets, no matter where they are.

Commenting on her Bill, Angela said,

‘Dogs can be loyal and faithful companions. However, there have been too many attacks by dogs on people visiting homes, such as postal workers and health visitors. Not only that, we have seen too many instances of attacks by dogs on children in people’s homes. ‘My intention is to enable the police to take action against the very small minority of dog-owners who do not take full responsibility for their pet’s actions.’

The Bill is in the form of a 10 Minute Rule Bill, which is traditionally presented to the House of Commons after oral questions. If the House agrees the Bill will be brought forward for a 2nd reading later in this Parliamentary session.

Angela has been working for sometime with the communications union and the RSPCA on this campaign, which has pointed out that a wide range of workers need this protection, as well as children.
Below is full wording of Angela Smith’s 10 Minute rule Bill

Amend the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:-

1. Location
Delete “in a public place” in section 3(1) of the 1991 Act.

After the second “out of control” in section 3(1) of the 1991 Act insert “causes injury or death” and delete “any person”.

2. Powers of seizure
After “a dog” in section 4B(1) of the 1997 Act delete “is seized under section 5(1) or (2) below” and insert “is one to which it is alleged section 1 applies”.

After “dog cannot be” in section 4B(1) (b) of the 1997 Act delete “released into” and insert “in”.

3. Short title, commencement and extent
1) This Act may be cited as the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 2009.
2) This Act shall come into force on such a day as the Secretary of State may by order appoint.
3) This Act extends to England and Wales only.

Explanatory notes
1) The amendment aims to provide to extend the offence of having a dog dangerously out of control from public places to private places also. For example, where postmen and women or other such official people have to visit properties and are in the front garden of such properties. It would also cover instances where children are injured and/or killed in front rooms.

2) This amendment aims to ensure that where relevant and of no or very little risk to the public s1 dogs can be exempted and registered without being seized which ensures better welfare for the dog. The courts will still be the final arbiters of whether the dogs should be exempted and the police lose no powers of seizure or prosecution if they are needed.

Issued : 1 July 2009

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