The introduction of so-called “dogbos” – anti-social behaviour orders for dog owners – is being discussed by peers as part of efforts to replace legislation in place since 1991.  This legislation banned ownership, breeding, sale or exchange of four types of dogs: the pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the dogo Argentino and the fila Brasileiro.  Lord Redesdale’s proposed Dog Control Bill would replace the Dangerous Dogs Act, making owners responsible for the behaviour of their dog and not just focusing on the four breeds in the Dangerous Dogs Act.

I totally agree with Lord Redesdale who says that “owners must be responsible for their pets’ actions and therefore sanctions can be taken against the owner” where appropriate.

Responsibility starts with the breeder who must ensure that the puppy is socialised before going to its’ new home.  We know of cases where puppies have been brought up in dark sheds, without human contact.  If puppies are not socialised within these early days, they will be potentially traumatised and lacking in social skills.

It is the breeders responsibility to ensure that they find the best possible homes for their puppies by getting to know the new owners and their families before parting with a puppy.  Ensure each puppy has at least it’s 1st vaccination and is insured before leaving.   We would like to see transfer of ownership for pedigree puppies to be instigated by the breeder and included in the cost of the puppy.  This is not a casual caller / seller relationship.

Responsibility is continued with the new owner who should firstly select a breed which fits the lifestyle of the family.  Dogs who need lots of exercise are not good pets for a family where both parents work long hours and come home exhausted.  It is not a good idea to buy a dog for emotional reasons – kids nag you to death so you give in “for a quiet life” – or a sad face on Death Row and “must take him home”.  Don’t misunderstand me here – rescue organisations do a fantastic job and deserve our full support, but dog ownership must be considered fully before a life-long commitment is made.

It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that the dog has all its’ needs fulfilled – to give veterinary treatment when needed, to give appropriate daily exercise, to enable the dog to understand its’ place in the pack and to set rules for the dog to live by.

Responsible dog owners have nothing to fear from the Dog Control Bill.  If this becomes Law, we should welcome it and embrace all it stands for.