Microchipping and Legislation Changes ‘Desperately Needed’
Lawyers representing victims who have suffered serious physical and psychological trauma in dog attacks say Government plans to introduce compulsory microchipping to tackle the issue of dangerous animals will “play a key role in protecting the public” but don’t go far enough.
Ministers are expected to confirm the changes today (April 23rd) as part of a new effort to crack down on both violent dogs and owners who fail to keep their pets under control.
As well as making microchipping compulsory for newborn puppies, the Government is expected to announce that for the first time owners may also be prosecuted if their dog attacks someone on their private property.
Irwin Mitchell’s expert animal bites team, which specialises in acting for victims of all ages who have suffered significant physical and psychological injuries as a result of dog attacks, have joined trade unions in welcoming the move.
David Urpeth, a Partner at the law firm with vast expertise in the area of dog attacks and animal bites, said: “We have been waiting a long time for the Government to clarify how it can look to tackle the issue of dangerous dogs, but we hope that these long-awaited proposals will play a key role in protecting the public from the potential risks.
"Dog attacks are very rarely out of the news and the most serious incidents can have devastating consequences, so it has been clear for some time that new rules have been desperately needed.
"Microchipping will play a key role in ensuring the owners of animals involved in attacks can be quickly traced, meaning both the dogs and their owners can be held to account over such incidents.
"In addition, changing legislation so that dog bite victims can prosecute over attacks in the home will allow many people who previously would not have been able to seek justice to get the answers and support they need.
"These plans look set to be a strong sign that the Government is finally looking to serious action on dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners. However, they don’t go far enough as all too often, when someone is injured, the dog owner does not have insurance or the funds to meet the costs of rehabilitation.
“As such, I maintain the need for the introduction of compulsory insurance for dog owners, as this would also help many victims gain the help they need to recover from the psychological and physical trauma that attacks can cause."