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Gildernew moves on Dangerous Dogs and Dog Fighting

20 November, 2007

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has made a statement to the Assembly on dangerous dogs and dog fighting.

The Minister stated that she endorsed the Assembly Motion calling for a review of dog control and animal welfare legislation.

The Minister emphasised that she was, in advance of the Assembly motion, taking steps to deal with issues that had been raised with respect to the control of dangerous dogs and dog fighting. This includes a review of the legislation.

Speaking after her Statement the Minister said:

"Like most right thinking people I want to see an end to dog attacks. I also want to see an end to the immoral, cruel and deplorable and "so called" sport of dog fighting and the sickening practices that surround it. I find the issues, as so graphically highlighted in the media totally abhorrent and agree that steps should be taken to rid society of this scourge.

"I intend to carry out a review of the legislation and end this evil act in a coherent and considered manner. I have written to the PSNI Chief Constable requesting a meeting to discuss issues of public safety and the role of the PSNI in the enforcement of dog control and dangerous dog legislation.

"I also plan to speak directly to Councils on this issue and with my Executive Colleagues on a number of cross-cutting aspects around dangerous dogs. In addition I have raised this issue with Mary Coughlan and I am working with the South to ensure that we have the legislative means to deal with these problems." ENDS


The control of dogs, including dangerous dogs, is regulated under the Dogs (NI) Order 1983 (as amended). District Councils are responsible for enforcing all aspects of the Dogs Order. Dog fighting is an offence under the Welfare of Animals (NI) Act 1972 and the PSNI is responsible for enforcement of dog fighting provisions. District Councils may seize any dog that appears to be a banned type. The maximum penalty for owning a banned dog type here is, on conviction, up to six months imprisonment, or a fine of up to £5,000, or both.

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