EAST Lancashire MP Andrew Stephenson has demanded new laws to prosecute people whose dogs roam wild on private property.

The Pendle Tory used a Commons debate to urge the government to legislate to protect canvassers, postmen and others who deliver to homes from out of control canines.

In East Lancashire 22 posties were bitten by dogs in the year to April 2012.

His mother, Ann, also has the end of her finger bitten off delivering election leaflets in Colne prior to the local elections.

Mr Stephenson told rural affairs minister Jim Paice: “Although I have publicly supported changing the dangerous dogs legislation for some time, the issue took on personal significance for me in May.

“The dog bit my mother’s finger so hard that it broke the bone, and it also bit off the nail and the end of the finger. She was kept in hospital for several days.

“Something must be done to protect postal workers, volunteers and the public from dangerous dogs, and to remind owners of their responsibilities.

“Last October, I read about a Staffordshire bull terrier attacking a 10-year-old in Pendle after the dog had been given lager to drink.

“Of course, because of the way the current law works, no one was punished.

“There is widespread agreement that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is one of the worst pieces of legislation in history.

“A key respect in which the legislation got it wrong was in focusing on breeds of dog, when the real problem was and is irresponsible dog owners. However, surely one of the other biggest mistakes was that the law did not cover attacks that happen on private property.”

Mr Paice replied: “I am very sorry to hear about the dog attack on your mother. I am pleased to hear that she is recovering, even if she will bear the scars for the rest of her life.

“The problems with dogs are in fact a problem with the owner, either because they do not understand how to control the dog or have the desire to use it as a form of weapon. That is why proposals will include measures on the use of a dog as a weapon.

“The most important next step is to extend the criminal offence of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control on private property, which addresses his point about postmen and the many other people who have a legitimate right to come on to one’s property.”