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Gildernew announces working group on the enforcement of Dangerous Dogs

26 February, 2008


Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has met local Councils as part of her review of dangerous dogs legislation.

Speaking after the meeting the Minister said:

"This was an excellent meeting and another important step in the review of dangerous dogs and dog fighting legislation which I announced in the Assembly on 20 November 2007. It is one of several meetings that I will be having with interested parties as part of the review.

"During the meeting I put forward a proposal that a working group be established to develop a Memorandum of Understanding between the PSNI and councils. This memorandum would set out how the PSNI could support council staff in carrying out their duties with regard to dangerous dogs, and address some of their concerns on public safety. Council representatives were very supportive of my proposal and I expect representatives from the councils, the PSNI and DARD to meet shortly.

"Today's meeting also gave me the opportunity to hear at first hand the concerns of councils on a wide range of issues including enforcement of the legislation and the difficulties dog wardens face in carrying out their duties. A number of important issues where raised at the meeting including several enforcement concerns and the difficulties in identification of certain dog types.

"I will now take time to consider the comments made today by council representatives and will meet them again when I have considered their written submissions." ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • Under the Dogs (NI) Order 1983, as amended by the Dangerous Dogs (NI) Order 1991, it is an offence to be in possession of certain breeds of dog designated as dangerous, including the pit bull terrier. Enforcement of legislation relating to dangerous dogs is a currently a matter for District Councils in the North of Ireland.
  • Dog fighting is also illegal and is regulated under separate and discreet legislation, namely the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 1972. PSNI is responsible for enforcement of this issue.
  • The Minister announced a review of dangerous dogs and dog fighting legislation in a statement to the Assembly on 20 November. This review is underway.
  • The Minister met District Councils on 25 February to discuss their concerns on dog control legislation, including dangerous dogs.

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