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RSPCA welcomes EFRA call for effective action on dog ownership

Animal charity backs report’s criticism of Government

The RSPCA has backed criticism of the Government’s failure to properly tackle irresponsible dog ownership, made in a new House of Commons committee report.

Britain’s biggest animal charity supports many of the recommendations the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee (EFRA) today made in its report on dog control and welfare.

Among the recommendations, the committee suggests the introduction of consolidated dog legislation, Dog Control Notices and tighter limits on unlicensed dog breeding.

The RSPCA has campaigned for many years for such measures, and believes they would have more impact on proactively dealing with irresponsible owners than Defra’s recent announcement on the introduction of compulsory microchipping.

However, the Society – which wants the emphasis of any law to be placed on the actions of the owner – has grave concerns at the mention of allowing more types of dog to be added to the list of banned breeds.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “Politicians must learn the lessons of the disastrous Dangerous Dogs Act. Twenty years on from it, man’s best friend is being dumped and demonised in this nation of animal lovers.

“EFRA’s report is right to focus on actions which tackle the deeds of irresponsible owners and breeders. Dog Control Notices and tightening limits on unlicensed dog breeding are good moves. But they’ve got it entirely wrong by suggesting banned breeds by wrongly blaming specific types of dog.

“Let’s act to right the wrongs of the Dangerous Dogs Act, rather than compounding them.”

The RSPCA also supports the recommendation that local authority dog warden services are fully resourced so they can effectively manage stray dogs.

EFRA’s conclusion that ‘too many dogs continue to suffer ill-health due to inbreeding and breeding for exaggerated characteristics’ is another view shared by the RSPCA.

However, we believe an independent review of breed standards should involve independent clinical behaviourists, welfare scientists and geneticists as well as vets. This would widen the focus to include welfare and temperament.

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