HC Deb 29 July 1959 vol 610 cc482-3
4. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for Air why he arranges for Royal Air Force Alsatian guard-dogs to travel on passenger trains, which is greatly to the annoyance of the travelling public and railway staff; and whether he will now discontinue this practice.

Mr. Ward

I am afraid that we cannot provide motor transport every time dogs have to be sent to another station, nor could we very well send them as freight. The handlers accompanying the dogs observe the railway regulations and we do all we can to avoid annoyance to other passengers.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the Secretary of State aware that not enough is done to avoid inconvenience to the travelling public and that only last Friday I had complaints made to me by members of the railway staff at Waterloo who object very much to having Royal Air Force guard dogs in railway guards vans when they have to deal with large numbers of the travelling public going on holiday? Will the right hon. Gentleman have another look at the matter?

Mr. Ward

We have certainly received no complaints from the railway staff ourselves. I am very sorry if the hon. Member was inconvenienced in this way, but as far as I can ascertain, this is only the second complaint that we have ever received about dogs travelling by passenger train. The first complaint came from an elderly lady who thought that the muzzle on one of the dogs was too tight.

Mr. de Freitas

Surely these dogs are accompanied by an attendant when they travel? They are not sent alone, are they?

Mr. Ward

They have handlers.