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Volume 530: debated on Thursday 30 June 2011

13. What steps she plans to take to reduce the incidence of antisocial behaviour by dogs and their owners. (62889)

DEFRA is working closely with the Home Office to deal with the issue of antisocial behaviour on the part of dogs and their owners. As I am sure the hon. Gentleman knows, on 7 February the Home Office issued a consultation paper on a new, streamlined framework of measures to tackle antisocial behaviour. Subject to consultation, the new tools will replace 18 of the formal powers that are currently available, including those applicable to dogs. The consultation ended on 17 May, and the responses are being analysed.

It is reassuring to hear that discussions are taking place with the Home Office. Members of the all-party associate parliamentary group for animal welfare met representatives of the Association of Chief Police Officers last week, and they presented their evidence to the Department shortly afterwards. Will the Minister meet members of the all-party group to discuss ACPO’s information and the concerns it raised with the Department?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, I am always happy to meet him and, indeed, any other colleagues. As he also knows, the issue of dogs is the responsibility of my noble Friend, Lord Henley. I will pass his request on to my noble Friend, but I assure him that if he cannot deal with it, I will do so.