HC Deb 07 December 1972 vol 847 cc1644-5
2. Mr. Laurance Reed

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to strengthen the law on the keeping of guard dogs.

Mr. Carlisle

No, Sir. I am not persuaded that special measures of control are necessary.

Mr. Reed

Does my hon. and learned Friend recall the case of the small boy in my constituency who was attacked by three alsatians and a doberman pinscher? Is he aware that an eleven-year-old girl was attacked by the same pack of dogs, with the result that she has had to have 18 stitches in different parts of the body? Is it not time that the Home Office did something about the matter?

Mr. Carlisle

I am aware that my hon. Friend asked me a Question about guard dogs on an earlier occasion. I am sorry to hear of the further incident in his constituency. If he cares to write to me about it I will look into the individual facts. But I must make it clear that in the present situation, those who, unfortunately are attacked or bitten by guard dogs represent under 2 per cent. of all accidents involving dogs.

Mr. George Cunningham

Does the Minister realise that that is no consolation to the 2 per cent.? Does he recall an incident in my constituency when dogs dragged a four-year-old boy under a fence because the fence was too high off the ground?

Given that the Government are proposing, in another Department, to introduce legislation specifying the height and depth of fences used to protect lorry parks, does the hon. and learned Gentleman not think that the least we can do is to have some provision that ensures that fences around such dogs extend to a specified distance beneath the ground?

Mr. Carlisle

The position is that the behaviour of guard dogs, like all other dogs, is subject to the normal provisions of the law relating to dangerous dogs. However, I must advise the hon. Gentleman that the advice that we have received from the police is that regulations would be difficult to promote and enforce, and that they would be unlikely to be fully effective. The police do not consider that legislation specifically related to guard dogs is necessary.