This week in the House of Commons, I returned again to the issue of dangerous dogs, and specifically the use and training of attack dogs.
My local park is Normand Park in North Fulham. I wasn’t there myself at the time, but another local resident emailed me this week to tell me of an awful attack by what was described as a pit-bull attacking a puppy in front of it’s child owner’s eyes. With toddlers of my own, I can tell you, this sort of thing can be a horrifying experience. The puppy was badly injured and will require I am told more than a thousand pounds of veterinary work done to it. The dangerous dog’s owner became abusive to those who complained, and even swore loudly at the mother of the grief-stricken toddler.
I am told that the Council is now investigating this incident very seriously. I raised it during Home Office questions today, and drew attention to the seriousness being given this issue by Boris Johnson, local GLA member Kit Malthouse, and by Hammersmith & Fulham Council, particularly local councillor Sarah Gore and Council Cabinet Member Greg Smith.
The Government has launched an already failed scheme of compulsory insurance for dogs. This will add a lot of cost and bureaucracy for existing dog owners, whilst doing nothing to stop those bent on getting round the law (illegal dogs will, after all, be uninsurable). Instead what we need is a new approach of much tougher sentences, of the sort we would expect for those with knives or other weapons, and we need to make the police’s job easier by allowing them to deal with incidents on the spot, rather than having to always taker the dog into kennels, at some expense.
The Council has done a good job in closing down some dog-breeding factories in flats, and on tougher action against attack dog owners. What we need to now see is a Government willing to tackle the problem head on, not by penalising the vast majority of law-abiding dog-owners.
If you have a view on this, or on any other issue, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on (020) 7835 5446.