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House of Commons Hansard
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Dangerous Dogs Strategy
12 June 2014
Volume 582
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2. What recent steps he has taken to implement the Government’s strategy on dangerous dogs; and if he will make a statement. [904169]

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On 13 May, new amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 came into force, including higher sentences for dog attacks, an extension of the offence of a dog being dangerously out of control to all places, including private places, and a specific offence for a dog attack on an assistance dog.

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In my constituency there has been a spate of vicious dangerous dog attacks, the latest on an eight-year-old girl named Grace Lucas, who suffered horrible injuries to her face. The real problems are a lack of education and, of course, irresponsible dog ownership. What are the Government doing to tackle those important issues?

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The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. Before I became a Minister, I followed the issue closely from the Back Benches. We are doing two things. Later this year we will introduce community protection notices, which will introduce new powers, for instance to issue orders to require an owner to keep their dog on a lead, muzzle their dog or put postbox guards on their door. In extreme cases, there will be powers to insist on a dog being neutered. I also agree with the hon. Gentleman about responsible dog ownership. That is why we are clear that anybody who is breeding dogs for sale should have a licence.

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I recently attended a free Dogs Trust chipping event in Blacon in my constituency, and I noticed that a lot of people were unaware that it will be compulsory to have dogs chipped in England from 2016, and Wales from 2015. What is the Minister doing to ensure that dog owners are aware that that will be compulsory from 2016?

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That is an important point and we must ensure that dog owners are aware of those proposals. We are working with veterinary practices across the country to ensure that they know about them and are passing the information on to dog owners. We will also run a communications exercise in the press to raise the issue.