Clause 27 - Seizure and detention of dogs

Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 16th November 2021.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This clause targets reoffending—cases where either the same dogs are found attacking livestock repeatedly, or where an owner has several dogs that worry livestock. It is important to bear in mind that about two thirds of livestock worrying incidents happen when an owner is not with their dog, and it has escaped or run away from them. Under the clause, the dog can be detained until the owner has claimed it and paid any associated expenses. The police will be able to seize and detain a dog if they have reasonable grounds to believe that it has attacked or worried livestock, or may make further attacks on livestock.

Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

We have come to a series of clauses that get into the detail of how we address this issue in the new world. We have no objection to much of the detail, but as I said earlier, we seem to be designing new systems for dealing with dogs—and their owners, in some cases; we will look at that further in other clauses. I wonder a bit about how the measures will work and overlap with existing legislation. There are frequent debates in Parliament about the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, for instance. I worry that we are designing a new system that starts from livestock worrying, but that could cover many other aspects of how dogs behave, and we could be duplicating measures, or creating a system that will be extrapolated from to cover other circumstances. Obviously, livestock worrying is an important issue in itself, but a whole range of things follow from it that it may be relevant to discuss and consider in the round in another way. However, when it comes to how one might deal with livestock worrying, there is nothing in the clause that we object to, and we are happy to proceed with it.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 27 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.