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Summit to promote and improve responsible dog ownership in Wales

18 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Dog walker.

A summit to explore what more can be done in Wales to promote and improve responsible dog ownership will take place today.

The summit was called by Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths and will focus on what can be done using the levers available to Wales.

It will bring together representatives from local government, the police, public health, third sector organisations and those campaigning for both the welfare of dogs and the safety of the general public.

Laws protecting the public from dangerous dogs are not devolved and as such, are a matter for the UK Government.

But issues such as breeding, pet sales and raising awareness of responsible dog ownership can be dealt with in Wales.

The summit will explore what works now, and what additional steps can be taken to promote and improve responsible dog ownership.

For example, over the past three years the Welsh Government has supported a local authority enforcement project in relation to dog breeding.

It provides training and guidance for inspectors, improving our capacity to investigate and stop illegal breeding.

This has included additional inspections at dog breeding premises and the gathering of intelligence on unlicensed dog breeders, leading to prosecutions.

Ownership

Speaking ahead of the summit the Minister said: “We have seen far too many dog attacks over the past few years and, while changes to the law on dangerous dogs is a matter for the UK Government, there are things we can address in Wales, such as improving enforcement of current legislation, education and raising awareness.

“The summit brings together all the key players so we can see what works now, where there are gaps and where we can take more action.

“Any dog, whatever their breed or size, has the potential to cause harm and show aggression, and so responsible dog ownership is vital for all breeds.

“I hope the summit, by bringing everyone together, can explore and assess how we can make progress using the levers at our disposal in Wales.”

Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Richard Irvine said: “Responsible dog ownership is key for animal welfare and public safety. It was also a focus for me at the Royal Welsh Show, and it will be good to hear what more we can do to promote this.

“Owning a dog can bring huge rewards, but it is also a commitment and a great responsibility. It is not something to be taken lightly, and the summit will be vital in hearing from all parties on what more we can do, including to ensure those embarking on dog ownership are well-informed.”

Strategic Lead and Trading Standards and Animal Health Manager for Monmouthshire County Council Gareth Walters will be one of the local authority representatives at the summit.

He said: “The Local Authority Enforcement project has overseen the appointment of 9 new Animal Licensing Officers. They offer crucial support required by Local Authority public protection services by providing a shared resource across Wales as a recognised point of expertise.

The officers enable existing animal health officers to focus on wider animal health and welfare work.

“I look forward to seeing how we contribute further with all partners on promoting responsible dog ownership.”


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Another Richard
Another Richard
5 months ago

I hope the possibility of introducing a system of dog licensing will be on the agenda. The licence fee should be set at a level that will fund a network of professionally trained wardens.

Sally-Anne
Sally-Anne
5 months ago

Tbh, I think they should round-up to ninety percent of dog owners calmly explaining to them that they couldn’t be trusted to look after a tin of dog food never mind an animal and then make them spend the rest of their lives picking dog sh** with their bare hands.

Richard 1
Richard 1
5 months ago

Licensing and microchipping are necessary. Barking nuisance also needs to be addressed, since barking dogs are the largest cause of complaints about noisy neighbours. Modern chip technology could include a record of barking, downloadable annually by vets. Then the cost of the licence could be varied so the owners of nuisance dogs pay more.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard 1

I agree about licensing and microchipping. But dogs are dogs and will bark. It cannot be stopped. The poor creatures have little to no agency in their lives as it is. Being a pet is to live as a hostage with Stockholm Syndrome. Aslo, I don’t think you could implant a recording device in a dog to record barking, without a surgery under general anaesthetic. It would need to contain its own power source and bluetooth. A pet microchip is essentially a passive data tag with no other functionality only readable by a scanner. Like a barcode or QR code.… Read more »

Richard 1
Richard 1
5 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Thanks for this thoughtful and useful answer. Your point about passive chips is well made – clearly I need to do some research.

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