§ Sir John Wheeler
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he proposes to take in respect of those pit bull terrier owners who have been unable to arrange for their dogs to be tattooed by 30 November, in compliance with the requirements of the exemption scheme set up under section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
One of the requirements of the exemption scheme set up under section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was that the owners of dogs covered by section 1 should have them permanently marked.
We are aware that there are a number of owners of such dogs, including pit bull terriers, who have been unable to arrange for their dogs to be tattooed by 30 November. It is wrong that those owners who in other respects have taken positive steps to abide by the requirements of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 should not have the opportunity to obtain a certificate of exemption.
My right hon. Friend has therefore laid the Dangerous Dogs Act Compensation and Exemption Schemes (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 1991 which comes into force today, which gives owners of exempted specially controlled dogs until 1 March 1992 to arrange for their dogs to be tattooed in the approved manner. Certificates of exemption will be issued to owners who have not been able to arrange for their dog to be tattooed with a requirement that the dog is tattooed before 1 March 1992, provided that they have complied with the other requirements of the exemption scheme. If an owner has not provided the index of exempted dogs with satisfactory evidence by 1 March 1992 to show that his dog has been tattooed, the certificate will lapse, the owner will be liable to prosecution and the dog may be seized and destroyed.
The new order does not change the position for owners who did not notify the police by 12 October of their wish to have their dogs exempted from the provisions of section 1(3) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, or who have not met other conditions of the certificate of exemption. Those who are in possession of dogs to which section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 applies who have not complied with the requirements of the law by having their dogs exempted will after 30 November be liable to prosecution.