HL Deb 04 July 1975 vol 362 cc548-51

3.12 p.m.


My Lords, on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Gordon-Walker, I beg to move that the Report be now received.

Moved, That the Report be now received.—(Earl Cowley.)

Clause 1 [Control of guard dogs:

Lord WELLS-PESTELL moved Amendment No. 1: Page 1, line 9, leave out (" or (b) ") and insert (" except while it").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, with the permission of the House I should like, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Gordon-Walker, to move this Amendment. My noble friend apologises for his inability to be here today. If I may have your Lordships' indulgence for a moment or two, I would remind your Lordships that last week in Committee we made very little progress, and I suggested that my noble friend and I should meet certain noble Lords opposite with a view to going into the matter of our differences. We had the pleasure of meeting the noble Earl. Lord Cowley, the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, and the noble Lord, Lord de Clifford, together with the Promoter of this Bill from another place, with the result that we were able to come to complete agreement. Because of that and subject to your Lordships' consent, perhaps I can formally move these Amendments, and I had better do so seriatim?. I beg to move Amendment No. 1.


My Lords, I should like' to thank the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, on behalf of myself and of my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross for the extensive consultations that he arranged on this Bill after the Committee stage. They were extremely useful and constructive. We discussed the Amendments and the shortcomings of this Bill which were raised during the Committee stage last Monday. As a result the noble Lord's Amendments appear on the Marshalled List today. They have our full support. We went into all the questions and the doubts on the Bill, and the Amendments meet all our most serious objections, notably the question of the agricultural land being included in the Bill and the absence of any statutory right of appeal to the magistrates' court. These matters have now been put right. We are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Gordon-Walker, and to the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, for putting these matters right and for their great magnanimity during the consultations.

There is one question which I should like to ask. Under Clause 3(2) the local authority has power to make conditions when granting the licence. I should like to ask whether the Government are considering including a requirement for third party insurance, notably since it appears in the voluntary code of practice issued by the Government last February. I think that the consultations arranged by the noble Lord were extremely worth while, and I believe that the Guard Dogs Bill is now far better than when it first came to this House. Perhaps the practice of consultation might now be extended to future Bills of a limited and expert interest, where they do not fall foul of Party divisions. Having said that, if I may give an assurance to the House and to my noble friends that the problems of the Bill have been fully gone into by all the people involved, perhaps I could agree with the noble Lord and recommend to the House that the Amendments on Report stage and the Report stage itself be taken formally.


My Lords, may I join with my noble friend in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, and the noble Lord, Lord Gordon-Walker, for their efforts to meet all the points which we raised. They were most helpful and, as my noble friend has said, we have a much better Bill. I am happy about it and I have to thank them.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, before I move Amendments Nos. 2 and 3, with the permission of the House I should like to answer a point raised by the noble Earl, Lord Cowley, with regard to insurance. The Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Scotland approved a code of practice for the use of guard dogs which I will not now read out in detail. The third section of the first code of practice lays down that there should be adequate insurance against all claims. This represents the Government's point of view and it went out with Government approval. I hope that the noble Earl will feel that that is adequate in the circumstances. I beg to move Amendments No. 2 and 3 en bloc.

Amendments moved—

Page 1, line 10, leave out (" chained up or otherwise ") Page 1,line 16, leave out (" chained up or otherwise ").—(Lord Wells-Pestell.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 3 [Guard dog kennel licences]:


My Lords, I beg to move formally Amendments Nos. 4 to 13 inclusive.

Amendments moved—

Page 2, line 22, leave out first (" or ").

Page 2, line 22, leave out second (" or ").

Page 2, line 23, leave out (" or ").

After Clause 3, insert the following new clause: (" .—(1) The applicant or, as the case may be, the licence holder may appeal to a magistrates' court or, in Scotland, a sheriff court, against—

  1. (a) the refusal of a local authority to grant a licence; or
  2. (b) the conditions (other than the prescribed conditions) to which the licence is subject; or
  3. (c) the authority's refusal to vary the conditions; or
  4. (d) the revocation of a licence.
(2) On an appeal the court may, if it thinks fit, give directions to the local authority with respect to the licence or the conditions and it shall be the duty of the local authority to comply with such directions."). Clause 4, page 2, line 33, at end insert— (" (2) The provisions of this Act shall not be construed as—
  1. (a) conferring a right of action in any civil proceedings (other than proceedings for the recovery of a fine or any prescribed fee) in respect of any contravention of this Act or of any regulations made under this Act or 551 of any of the terms or conditions of a licence granted under section 3 of this Act; or
  2. (b) derogating from any right of action or other remedy (whether civil or criminal) in proceedings instituted otherwise than by virtue of this Act.").

Clause 5, page 2, line 38, leave out paragraph (b).

Clause 6, page 3, line 17, at end insert— (" "agricultural land "has the same meaning as in the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953; ")

Clause 6, page 3, line 18, after second (" dog ") insert (" which is being ")

Clause 6, page 3, line 31, after (" than ") insert (" agricultural land and ").

Clause 7, page 3, line 39, leave out (" prescribe ") and insert (" appoint ").—(Lord Wells-Pestell.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.