Tougher laws for dog owners

Julie Hilling MP, Shirley and Michael Anderson, Luciana Berger MP and Angela McGlynn
Julie Hilling MP, Shirley and Michael Anderson, Luciana Berger MP and Angela McGlynn

THE politician leading the changes to dangerous dogs laws following the tragic death of Jade Anderson has assured Wiganers that tougher penalties for owners of problem dogs are imminent.

Speaking ahead of a visit to the borough, Lord De Mauley, the Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said that legislation is already going through parliament to ensure that dog owners will be more accountable for their pets.

Jade was killed by a pack of dogs whilst visiting a friend’s house on Chaucer Grove, Atherton earlier this year. Her death shocked the nation leading politicians to back her parents in their campaign to amend the Dangerous Dogs Act.

At present, the law does not extend to attacks that happen on private property, which Lord De Mauley is working to change.

He said: “New legislation will be extended to all places in which any dog attack occurs. It will mean dog owners are held responsible and tougher penalties will be brought down on those in breach of the Dangerous Dogs Act.

“The law will also move to cover any workers who may be affected such as postal workers and health visitors.”

Lord De Mauley also said that persistent problems with dogs regarding anti-social behaviour will be dealt with under new legislation.

He added: “There will be flexible tools for the authorities to use to clamp down on nuisance dog owners as well as new powers regarding assaults on any assistance dogs, such as guide dogs

“Hopefully if we can nip such behaviour in the bud it will not lead to more tragic incidents.

Lord De Mauley also singled out charities such as Wigan based Prevent Unwanted Pets (PUP) for praise in the work they do with dog owners.

He added: “I cannot speak highly enough of charities like PUP who work so hard to educate and monitor dog owners in areas where there are a lot of dogs. Without their fantastic work and input we would not have been able to formulate the new legislation which will involve compulsory micro-chipping of dogs.”