A LEGAL loophole is to be closed, extending dangerous dog legislation to private property.
It is hoped this will make it easier to prosecute anyone who owns a dog which attacks someone while in a home, similar to the circumstances surrounding baby Ava-Jayne Corless’s death.
And in making this announcement almost a year ago, the government also said it would introduce compulsory microchipping of all dogs from April 2016.
The microchips will be coded with owners' details, and owners who do not comply could face fines of up to £500.
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill 2013-14 will amend the Dangerous Dog Act 1991 which, it is widely agreed, was rushed through following public outcry after a spate of high-profile dogs attacks.
The Bill was returned to the House of Commons with Lords amendments. These amendments were considered on the floor of the House last Tuesday, February 4. The Commons disagreed with a Lords amendment and have made an amendment in lieu.
The Bill is now in ‘ping pong’ which means it travels back and forth between the two Houses, until both Houses agree on the text.
When agreed, the Bill will allow preventative action such as police or local authorities stepping in after aggressive behaviour but before it goes aggressively out of control.
The animal charity, Blue Cross, called for dog attacks on protected species, such as cats, to be a criminal offence but this hasn’t been included.
A separate piece of legislation is the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 which has also been at the centre of calls for an update.
A bitch can have five litters in a year before the owner needs to inform the local authority to get a licence under this Act.