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Last Updated: Tuesday March 09 2010 07:03 GMT

Call for new laws on pet dogs

A dog

New laws to stop dangerous dogs

The are already rules about keeping some dogs but now the government want to make them even stricter.

Every dog owner in England and Wales might be asked to microchip their pet dog, whichever breed, in an attempt to control the dangerous ones.

Police could even be given the power to hand out special dog notice orders for dangerous pets.

It means they could force owners to muzzle their animals, keep them on a lead, or even neuter them.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: "Britain is a nation of animal lovers, but people have a fundamental right to feel safe on the streets and in their homes".

Dog attacks rising

Dangerous dog
Dog attacks are on the rise in the UK

Figures from the National Health Service say the number of dog attacks have tripled since 1991, and now around 100 people each week go to hospital with injuries from dangerous dogs.

Many attacks are being blamed on dogs used as weapons by gangs.

In 2009, London's Metropolitan Police created a new unit to tackle the rise in the number of dogs being used by criminals.