Savage Dogs

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th May 1991.

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Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin , Glasgow Springburn 12:00 am, 15th May 1991

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to protect police officers, postal workers and delivery personnel, from savage dogs kept by some householders; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire

There is already a significant body of legislation dealing with dangerous dogs. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1989, passed with Government support, gives courts powers to impose very stiff penalties on those who do not keep their dogs under control.

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin , Glasgow Springburn

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is extremely concerned about the situation that is arising. Pit bull terriers and rottweilers are very numerous in many tenement properties and in some multi-storey flats. Tenants are terrified to go into some lifts, and parents do not like to send their children into the parks, where these animals are let loose. I understand that Strathclyde police officers have been injured because drug dealers are using these dogs as a front line of defence. Surely the Government should introduce legislation to outlaw breeds that are dangerous and have aggression bred into them.

Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire

I am aware of the incidents to which the hon. Member refers and I find them as distressing and regrettable as I am sure the whole House does. However, it is not easy to see how such attacks could be prevented by legislative means. Specific controls over certain breeds would be far from straightforward. However, I should like to reassure the hon. Gentleman with regard to the legislation as it stands. Under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, it is an offence for any person to allow a creature in his charge, including a dog, to endanger another person who is in a public place, and the Act empowers a court to order the destruction of the creature.