HC Deb 15 June 1950 vol 476 cc534-5
25. Mr. Eric Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation amending the Dogs Act to secure the destruction of dangerous dogs after a magistrate has made an order for such dogs to be destroyed.

Mr. Ede

Under an Act applying to the Metropolis there is already power for a magistrate to direct that a dog which has bitten or attempted to bite any person within the Metropolis should be destroyed and for the police to carry out the order of the court. I cannot hold out any prospect of its being possible to introduce in the near future legislation to enable the general law to be amended for the purpose suggested by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Fletcher

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in my constituency there is a particularly vicious dog which a magistrate has ordered to be destroyed, and that as a result of failure to comply with that order the owner has twice suffered a sentence of imprisonment? The police allege that they have no power to carry out the order, and unless something is done, when the owner comes out of prison in a few weeks' time the dog will again be restored to him.

Mr. Ede

I understand that in the case about which my hon. Friend has written to me the position is that when the time for appeal against the present order has expired the dog will be destroyed.

Sir J. Lucas

While agreeing with the Question, may I have an assurance that the right of appeal will be safeguarded, because some magistrates do not like or understand dogs?

Mr. Ede

This particular piece of legislation is confined to the Metropolis and it would have to be executed by the Metropolitan Police. In the case that has been brought to my notice I understand that they are waiting for the time for an appeal to end before action is taken.

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

Do police dogs enjoy a special dispensation in this matter? Is it still the case that other dogs are allowed two bites before being defined as dangerous?

Mr. Ede

No. I understand that in the Metropolis a dog is not even allowed a first bite before being regarded as dangerous. Police dogs are trained not to bite, but merely to hold.

Mr. Keeling

Will the Home Secretary confirm the fact that dogs have often appealed successfully against an order for their destruction?

Mr. Ede

No. But I think that the owners of the dogs sometimes succeed.

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