Guard Dogs Act 1975

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th February 1981.

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Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake 12:00 am, 5th February 1981

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to amend the Guard Dogs Act 1975 so that guard dogs may not be left secured on their own for long periods.

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Royal Tunbridge Wells

No, Sir. The Protection of Animals Act 1911 already makes it an offence to ill-treat or cause any unnecessary suffering to a captive or domestic animal.

Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that that Act does not deal with the distress that is caused to animals, and that that is a loophole? Will my hon. and learned Friend please think again about the Guard Dogs Act?

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Royal Tunbridge Wells

I am well aware of my hon. Friend's deep interest in the welfare of all animals and of her position in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It would be difficult to make a statutory distinction between distress and unnecessary suffering. It is a matter for the court to consider on the facts of the case. In a particularly bad case, where an animal had been tied up for a very long time it would be open to a court to find that there had been a breach of the Act.