Dog Attacks: Can Tougher Laws Change Owner Behavior?
The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) is set to talk to the government today about increasing the protection of British postal workers from dangerous dogs. The union claims that the government has merely held meetings regarding dangerous-dog laws, rather than taking firmer action against the dog owner
The postal workers’ union has decided that merely talking about owners being responsible for their dogs’ behavior has not worked. The CWU states that more than 5,000 postal workers are attacked by dogs every year. According to the union, the government has been "dragging its feet" in England, despite an increase in these dog attacks on Postal workers.
On September 5, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is issuing a direct accusation that the government of endangering lives by failing to take action on dangerous dogs and is asking for mandatory microchipping and compulsory insurance coverage for all dogs.
According to Billy Hayes, the CWU’s general secretary, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is “failing both dog owners and attack victims alike”. The CWU will call for the government to make microchipping of all dogs compulsory and require mandatory insurance coverage for owning any dog in the UK.
Dangerous dog laws in England and Wales were beefed up on August 20, writes James Watkins of lawontheweb.co.uk, and the maximum penalty for owners of dogs who attack people in public was raised to 18 months.
However, they will argue that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 does not adequately protect postal workers, as owners who allow dogs to attack people on private property cannot be charged. According to the CWU, 70% of dog attacks on postal workers happen on private property.
Dave Joyce, the union's safety officer, said, "We want a package of better laws – extended to private property, judging a dog's behavior not just breed.
Joyce is also calling for stronger enforcement of laws regarding dangerous dogs and dog attacks with more power and support given to animal control (dog wardens) and police.
The union believes higher fines and tougher penalties for those who do not properly confine and control their dogs are the answer. “These changes would deal with offenses and act as a deterrent, and help to change the behavior of dog owners.
The union states that it is concerned about changes that might make it more difficult for dog-attack victims to receive compensation. “"These most vulnerable people have nowhere else to turn,” he said, stating that the proposed laws do not do enough to compensate victims for injuries through prosecution. He points out that often the dog owner does not have the money or resources to compensate the victims and this “leaves injured victims struggling to cope.”
“There is a very simple solution to this problem, the reintroduction of the dog license at a rate of £100 per year coupled with chipping, writes Edward Lewis of Staffordshire. “Any dog found without a chip or untaxed and any dog that attacks a human being is to be immediately seized and humanely destroyed the same day. Since they are not human any question of human rights violation is irrelevant.”
Peter McKenna of Liverpool writes, ““Until we crack the problem of human behavior, dogs which are bred, bought and brandished specifically for their aggression are every bit as dangerous as guns – and should be controlled in the same way. It would appear that successive governments may have shown little interest in controlling dangerous dogs because attacks are generally confined to working-class areas”
People need real protection, not more useless lectures about how it's the owner's fault, McKenna contends.See also: Dog Attacks on Letter Carriers, Not Just a Postal Problem http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/dog-attacks-letter-carriers-not-just-postal-problem