Reintroduction of Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill remains an option.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

RSPCA Cymru is disappointed that the National Assembly for Wales has agreed a motion granting permission for Westminster to legislate on matters of dog control on Wales’ behalf but is encouraged that reintroduction of the Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill remains an option.

In May the Welsh Government decided to suspend its Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill, which had broad support from the public, animal charities and victims of dog attacks, and instead allow the UK Government to legislate for Wales through its Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing bill.

RSPCA Cymru has significant concerns regarding the way this bill proposes to tackle dog control and its potential impact on dog welfare and ownership. Furthermore the Welsh Government’s proposed legislation contained a number of provisions which had the potential to make a real difference in tackling dog control with an emphasis on prevention, education and awareness-raising such as the introduction of Dog Control Notices.

RSPCA Cymru’s Head of External Affairs, Claire Lawson said: “With animal welfare a devolved issue, the Welsh Government has already demonstrated its commitment to further this agenda in Wales with the recent announcement on mandatory microchipping of dogs in Wales.

“In its present form the UK Government’s Anti-social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Bill appears to place too much emphasis on punishment rather than prevention and  is nowhere near as focused as the Wales Bill which offered a golden opportunity to improve animal welfare and public safety alike.

“We are glad the Minister remains committed to the issue and has not given up on the option to legislate, although we would ask for clarity on the circumstances which he might consider doing this. We urge him to continue working closely with the UK Government to ensure the legislation achieves all of the Welsh Government’s objectives and that the powers proposed in the Wales Bill are undiminished.

“The UK bill is currently at the report stage of the process and RSPCA Cymru will continue to campaign for the best deal for dog welfare in Wales throughout its legislative passage”.