MR. J. H. ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the recent refusal of the Inland Revenue Inspector stationed at Denbigh to grant the tenant farmers exemptions from dog licences is causing great dissatisfaction in the neighbourhood; whether it is a fact that an exemption was refused to Maurice Roberts, of Tanygraig, Nantglyn, and that the dog had to be killed, also in the case of Evan Edwards, Llidiart-y-Green; if so, upon what grounds; and whether, in view of the extreme value of sheep dogs upon such farms, he will order an inquiry into the cases referred to?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Sir.J. T. HIBBERT,) Oldham
The law only grants exemption from dog licences to persons who are farmers or shepherds, and who use the dogs "solely in tending sheep or cattle on a farm, or in the calling or occupation of a shepherd." Of the two persons mentioned in the question the former had only two cows and two sheep, and the latter had two cows. In the opinion of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, it would be doing violence to the Act to grant certificates of exemption in such 1147 cases. I understand that the number of dogs kept by persons who are not bona fide farmers has given rise to much complaint on the part of farmers and others. For instance, the Standing Committee of the Justices and County Council of Carnarvon addressed a strong remonstrance to the Inland Revenue not very long ago on this subject of exemptions. Moreover, I need not remind my hon. Friend that these exemptions represent a corresponding loss to the ratepayer, as the yield of the dog licences is appropriated, not to the Exchequer, but in relief of rates. The matter does not seem to me to call for an inquiry, but if my hon. Friend has any material evidence to adduce in support of his plea for exemption, I shall be happy to consider it.