A powerful piece of new draft animal welfare legislation was launched for publication at the RSPCA’s Newport Animal Centre today (Friday 23 November). 

The draft Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill proposes key changes to the law governing out of control dogs so that action can be taken where dogs are deemed to be a threat to people or other animals anywhere in Wales including private property.

The focus will be on the behaviour of the dog, not the breed and include a strong education and training element for irresponsible dog owners. In conjunction with the other two enforcers, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the National Dog Wardens Association (NDWA), the RSPCA has long proposed that Dog Control Notices (DCN) are a necessary preventative measure.

The aim of a DCN is to nip a potentially dangerous situation in the bud at an early stage so that action can be taken against dog owners who allow their pets to become out of control. 

John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development said: “
 “Whilst the majority of dogs are kept under control and do not represent a risk to the public, dog attacks are on the increase, and children and animals, including guide dogs, are often the victims.

“The Welsh Government is determined to do more to protect Welsh communities and this draft Bill is a key step towards making that happen.

“Our proposals focus on early intervention when a dog is out of control and involve close working with dog owners to improve their dog’s behaviour. We believe that by using legislation we can make a significant difference to the incidents of dog attacks in Wales.

“The proposals are another important step in our ongoing work to ensure responsible dog ownership and improve animal welfare in Wales. They complement the work we are already progressing within our Road Map on Dog Welfare on compulsory microchipping and breeding regulations. “

RSPCA’s national director for Wales, Steve Carter said: “The draft Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill is very warmly welcomed by RSPCA Cymru, as irresponsible dog ownership is a major headache in parts of Wales.

“This groundbreaking piece of legislation will shift the focus from the dog to the person on the other end of the lead – the owner.

“Dog control notices will go a long way to help in terms of preventative measures, but RSPCA Cymru believes these changes in the law, could be further complemented by an overarching strategy of an affordable annual dog registration scheme.

This would be paid for by dog owners themselves and would provide the extra funding required for much-needed educational and enforcement resources which could be the key to successfully tackling irresponsible dog ownership once and for all”.