As I think my hon. Friend is aware, a proposal to issue dog control notices on private land was included in the dangerous dog consultation, the responses to which we have now published. The Department will respond to the issues raised in the consultation, including wider matters, and will make an announcement about the Government’s approach in the new year.
I thank the Minister for his answer. As he will be aware, the vast majority of those who responded to the consultation expressed opposition to the idea of dog control notices on private land. However, does he agree that we need to find a way of protecting workers, such as postal workers, who have to access private land to carry out their official duties?
The answer has to be yes. Of course we feel responsible for public service workers who, to a degree, put themselves at risk from dogs on private property. I cannot prejudge the outcome of the discussions, but I can tell my hon. Friend that what is important is that, since the end of the consultation, the Home Office has announced a review of all antisocial behaviour tools. DEFRA is represented on that working group, which is reviewing all antisocial issues, including the law on dogs.
I am sure I am not the only Member who has been bitten by a dog while election campaigning. More importantly, several of my constituents have also been bitten or had their dogs bitten by aggressive dogs. It is clear that dogs are being bred and kept for aggressive purposes. The Government have to get that under control. I suggest to the Minister that we need compulsory licensing, chipping and muzzling of dogs, especially for those known to be aggressive.
In my experience, most letter boxes are dangerous enough on their own without the dog behind them. However, I understand the hon. Gentleman’s point entirely—this is a serious issue. I can only repeat that we have been out to consultation, and that the results of that consultation, including the most popular outcomes, are all on the website. The Government are considering the matter now and, as I said, are working with the Home Office, and will make an announcement shortly after Christmas.