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'Dogs law needs to be tougher'

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: December 06, 2013

By Belinda Hargreaves

Lisa with Lilly, aged one-and-a-half, and one-year-old Blossom.

Lisa with Lilly, aged one-and-a-half, and one-year-old Blossom.

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THE owner of two Staffordshire Bull Terriers is appealing for the Government to be tougher on "irresponsible dog owners" as it makes amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Owners of killer dogs could face up to 14 years in prison under tough new laws recently proposed by the Government.

Additionally, if a dog injures someone in an attack its owner could be imprisoned for five years, and if a guide dog is attacked the penalty would be three years in jail.

The current maximum sentence for dog attacks is currently two years.

The Department of for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced the proposals in October as part of the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Bill following a public consultation this summer.

However, Lisa Barnacle, aged 35, of Leek, feels that more should be done to protect the dogs themselves and harsher laws should be brought in to stop 'irresponsible dog owners'.

Mum-of-one Lisa said: "What we need is a law that deals with thuggish, irresponsible dog owners

"Perhaps we need a Dangerous Owners Act. Irresponsible dog ownership has spiralled out of control – this is now the perfect time to amend this act to protect the public but also the dogs' welfare.

"The Government should not just be tinkering in small steps with this legislation.

"I think that the Government should state that every dog owner should have a licence. They have such licenses in America.

"If someone hands in their dog to be rehomed, then they should be made to pay for the dog's upkeep until it is re homed.

"It will make people question if they really want a dog, and would also hopefully help with the issues of over breeding and cross breeding."

Lisa, a law student at Staffordshire University, said: "I want to do a dissertation on this act as I feel strongly that it's not being done right. They need to sit down with the people who are in the thick of it."

"There is also talk of putting the Staffie Bull breed on the dangerous dog list.

"No doubt all dogs would bite if they are poorly trained, abused by their owners and put under undue stress or pressure.

"Yes we do see reports in the media about Staffie attacks, as well as other dogs, but the media very rarely reports on the background of each of the individual attacks.

"They blame the dogs when it is most likely the dogs reacting badly to cruelty from humans.

"Throughout the 19th century, Staffordshire Bull Terriers were known as 'Nanny Dogs' because they were seen as a great family pet, especially with children and toddlers because they were gentle giants.

"If Staffordshire Bull Terriers are put on the dangerous dog list then this breed will just disappear.

"There have been many occasions when I have been out with my dogs and we have changed people's perception of Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

"My dogs are that laid back that if you were to push them they would just fall over.

"They have been snapped at before by different terriers but they have never retaliated.

"They are always submissive.

"It's all about how you bring them up. The training has to be consistent – firm but fair, the same as for children.

"The dogs that bite the most are Labradors – Staffordshire Bull Terriers don't even come in the top 10 for biting."

Lisa added: "Staffordshire Bull Terriers are so sensitive and some people just don't give them credit.

"My son is six and he sits and talks to them and plays cars with them. He can also walk them as they don't pull.

" I just feel that there are still massive gaps to fill with this legislation.

"A dog is not born dangerous."

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