Mayhew Animal Home: A call for dog ownership reform

by Caroline Yates, CEO, Mayhew Animal Home

Over twenty organisations, including The Mayhew Animal Home, are now campaigning as a united voice for the coalition government to finally take action in revising dangerous dog legislation.

At a photocall outside parliament yesterday, representatives from the organisations, MPs, trade unionists and one of the Mayhew’s Animal Welfare officers, pushed for the government to bring this revision forward with some urgency and give the issue of irresponsible dog ownership the attention it deserves.

Irresponsible dog ownership has been a topic that many organisations have been speaking out against for years and who, like The Mayhew, are committed to keep highlighting the failings of current legislation until something is finally changed.

A petition demanding a consolidation and update of present dog control legislation has also been launched. Members of the public can sign up to the petition by visiting: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22631

The Mayhew is extremely pleased with this progress and support it is receiving from cross-party MPs and hopes the government will give it the attention it deserves and move to revoke the existing Dangerous Dogs Act; the failings of which are abundantly clear.

With the introduction of new legislation – covering both public and private property – much more onus will finally be placed on the owners of dogs; where the responsibility ultimately lies.

However, it must be noted that such measure address the effects of irresponsible dog ownership not the causes.

The Mayhew believes a more comprehensive package is needed, this would comprise:

– much more regulated legislation and a curb on the breeding of animals;

– much more regulation on the access to the buying, selling and transfer of ownership of pets;

– a registration system for animal owners, which would involved a fee, but this to be nominal for neutered animals and a significant amount for non-neutered animals;

– an annual check to ensure the animal is well-cared for, from both a medical and environmental point of view;

– This, together with national and local government support for the promotion of adoption of animals from shelters, encouragement of neutering with subsidies available and more education on what constitutes responsible pet ownership is the way forward.

Government support is crucial as animal welfare issues cannot be disassociated from social welfare issues and attention to animal welfare will also mean attention to social welfare issues for the benefit of animals and people alike.