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Volume 974: debated on Sunday 11 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will review the existing statutory provisions on stray dogs with a view to introducing further measures to reduce their number.

Existing legislation relating to dogs was examined by the interdepartmental working party on dogs, whose recommendations were to a large extent aimed at reducing the numbers of strays. I explained the present position about the Government's consideration of the working party's report on 22 November in my reply to the question from the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett).—[Vol. 974, c. 339.]

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total number of dog licences issued in 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974 and 1978; what were the estimated numbers of unlicensed dogs in each of those years; and how many stray dogs were seized under the provisions of the Dogs Act 1906.

I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food that the total number of dogs licensed in Great Britain was 2,721,285 in the financial year 1959–60; 2,863,947 in 1964–65; 2,905,620 in 1969–70; 2,836,643 in 1974–75; and 2,853,643 in 1978–79.No firm information is available on the size of the total dog population, on which precise estimates of numbers of unlicensed dogs can be based. The report of the interdepartmental working party on dogs, published in 1976, included rough estimates that the total dog population of the United Kingdom probably amounted to over 6 million; and that about half the dogs in the country which ought to be licensed are not.

The number of unlicensed dogs at any given time does, of course, include an unknown number in categories exempted under the Dog Licences Act 1959.

No central records are kept of the numbers of dogs seized or impounded under the Dogs Act 1906. The interdepartmental working party on dogs reported that an examination of police records for 1974 suggested that some 200,000 dogs are taken to police stations as strays each year.