More Than 160,000 Call For ‘Dog On Dog Attacks’ To Be Deemed ‘Criminal Offences’
A petition calling for the law on ‘dog on dog attacks’ to be changed has gained more than 160,000 signatures, as people call for owners to be held responsible.
The petition, which was created by dog owner Emma Gambrill after her border collie, Blue, was mauled by two escaped dogs, calls for the Dangerous Dog Act to be amended to make dog attacks on other dogs a criminal offence.
Gambrill says the dogs, which attacked Blue after escaping from a nearby garden while their owners failed to control them, were deemed ‘not dangerous’ by police, leaving her with no way to hold the dogs or the owners accountable for the death of her beloved pet.
‘My family have been left distraught and I am traumatised by the event,’ she wrote, explaining her reasons for the petition. ‘The law needs to change, making dog attacks a criminal offence and more robust actions enforced on owners.’
Under the Dangerous Dog Act, which was first passed in 1991, it is illegal for a dog to be ‘out of control’ either in a public place or inside a home. Owners can be held responsible if their dog attacks another human, or if a human feels threatened that a dog may injure them.
However, the law currently only applies to dog-on-human attacks and attacks on assistance dogs, meaning owners can’t face criminal prosecution if their dog attacks another pet, unless a human is injured while trying to intervene.
According to the RSPCA, dog on dog attacks should still be reported to the police, who can confiscate animals if they’re deemed to be dangerous. The organisation says ‘all dog owners should be responsible for their dog’s behaviour around people, other dogs and other animals.’
After passing the 100,000 signature threshold in April, Gambrill’s petition was presented in parliament by her local MP Feryal Clarke, and in an update she says the issue has been taken to the Department for the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for consideration.
Last month also saw the government launch its new animal welfare action plan, which set out a number of measures to protect pets, including new import rules to clampdown on pet smuggling, compulsory microchipping for cats, and a government taskforce to tackle pet theft. The plan received praise from the RSPCA and other animal welfare organisations, however no new measures were included regarding dog on dog attacks.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]