§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD BANBURY OF SOUTHAM
My Lords, I desire to move the Second Reading of this Bill. The Bill has already passed all stages in the House of Commons without opposition and I believe I am correct in saying that the Home Office has no objection to it. It merely provides that in cases where magistrates have convicted a man of cruelty to a dog they can, if they think right, order that that man shall not take out a licence to keep another dog. At this late hour I will not trouble your Lordships with instances of cruelty, but I have reports of recent instances in my pocket. I understand that every Party in the other House is in favour of the Bill, that the Home Office is also in favour of it, and I will therefore content myself with moving the Second Reading.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Banbury of Southam.)
THE EARL OF KINNOULL
My Lords, at this hour I will not detain the House for more than a few seconds, but I would like to support Bill as strongly as I can. It will be within your Lordships' memory that I put a question and the noble Lord, Lord Danesfort, moved a 850 Resolution some time ago on this subject. Then your Lordships were good enough to support the Resolution in spite of the fact that the Home Office opposed it. Every week we see reports in the Press of appalling cruelties to dogs. There was a case the other day where a man was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment. He had had six dogs previously and had been convicted of cruelty to each of them. I believe the magistrate said they wished they could have sentenced the man to flogging or the "cat." I hope your Lordships will give a Second Reading to the Bill.
§ LORD JESSEL
My Lords, I am very much surprised at the action of my noble friend in sponsoring this Bill. He has slain more Bills than anybody else in either House and now he comes and asks us at a very late hour to support his Bill. A poacher turned gamekeeper, or Satan reproving sin, could not surprise me more than the action of the noble Lord. I think his Bill worthy of support, though, if someone else had brought it in, I wonder whether his attitude would not have been this: "Cannot a man beat his own dog? How dare anybody propose that a man should not beat his own dog if he wants to? And if he is convicted it is his own business." The attitude of my noble friend fills me with astonishment, though I know it is in a good cause.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, I, too, was surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Banbury of Southam, should place himself in such a vulnerable position after his past record; but it gives me great pleasure to assure him that the Government have no intention of opposing the passage of the Bill into law. In regard to the remark of the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, the action of the Home Office might seem inconsistent, but the circumstances are not the same because this Bill differs to some extent from the Bill which the noble Lord. Lord Banbury of Southam brought in two years ago. This Bill quite satisfies the requirements of the Home Office and they desire to support it.
§ LORD RANKEILLOUR
My Lords, I have been a friend and, in certain respects, a pupil of the noble Lord, Lord Banbury of Southam, for thirty-two years, and I wish to testify to the fact that, 851 although he was successful in defeating many another measure, yet all that time he continually brought forward his own measures for the protection of dogs, and I heartily congratulate him on his ultimate success.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.