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New guidance on dangerous dogs

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Local authorities and the police are being given new guidance to help enforce dangerous dogs law more effectively.

Written in association with the police, the RSPCA and local authorities, the guidance sets out the current law and provides advice on how the legislation can be used effectively to improve enforcement.

The guidance:

  • Provides an outline of the law on dangerous dogs, including an explanation of 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act and the 1871 Dogs Act

  • Sets out best practice for the main enforcement authorities: the police and local authorities

  • Provides guidance on identifying pit bull terrier-type dogs

  • Provides examples of existing local initiatives

Environment Minister Jane Kennedy said the guidance would ensure that legislation to tackle irresponsible dog ownership was enforced effectively by setting out the current law and best practice for enforcement agencies.

"We undertook a significant review of the legislation with the police in 2007 and it was clear that, while the legislation was sound, more needed to be done to raise awareness of the law and improve enforcement," she said.

"We believe that better enforcement of the current law, ideally though local partnerships, will be far more effective at tackling the problem of dangerous dogs than amending it."

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