HL Deb 18 May 1976 vol 370 cc1266-7

2.55 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many district councils in the United Kingdom are operating dog warden or dog catcher schemes; under which Act of Parliament they have the authority to do so; whether they are operating on guidelines issued by a Ministry; and whether dogs collected by wardens and catchers are subject to the Dogs Act 1906.

Baroness STEDMAN

My Lords, some 50 local authorities are known either to have a dog warden scheme or to be considering setting one up and most of the schemes are operated under the general powers available in Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972. There are no guidelines issued by the Government. Responsibility for the custody and disposal of any dogs which a dog warden rounds up rests with the police under the Dogs Act 1906.


My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her reply. Would it not be more satisfactory if all these dog warden schemes were set up on a national level, and is not this one of the suggestions that was put forward to the working party of the Department of the Environment, which I understand reported some two months ago? Is it possible that we may soon see the report?

Baroness STEDMAN

My Lords, the Government have always considered that local authorities are well qualified to set up their own dog warden schemes as and where necessary when the need arises. They do not consider that central guidelines are necessary or appropriate in this case. So far as the report is concerned, the working party was an interdepartmental body which was set up in July 1974 and reported to my right honourable friend in April 1976. The Minister of State has agreed that the Ministers should consider, collectively, the working party report to decide whether or not it should be published, and we must await their decision.


My Lords, bearing in mind the gardening interests of many of us, would it not be a good idea if we had a cat catcher scheme?


My Lords, will Her Majesty's Government consider adjusting the dog licence fee to take account of inflation, since the fee remains based on the pre-war pound?

Baroness STEDMAN

My Lords, I understand that this is one of the recommendations of the working party which has yet to be considered.

Baroness BACON

My Lords, is my noble friend aware that in many areas no effort whatsoever is made to carry out the law which says that dogs should be kept on a lead? If this law were put into operation, perhaps fewer dogs would be roaming the streets for the dog catchers to deal with.

Baroness STEDMAN

My Lords, that also is a point which will be considered when the working party report is published.

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