Page last updated at 10:31 GMT, Thursday, 26 April 2012 11:31 UK

MP: Police 'feel powerless' on dangerous dogs

A Labour MP has said that police in his constituency "feel powerless" to deal with a dangerous dog.

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, said that police in the village of Stillington could not act because the dog in question had not yet attacked a person, but he feared that a "child, rather than an animal, could be the next victim".

During environment questions in the Commons on 26 April 2012, Mr Cunningham tabled a question asking what the government's policy was on the control of dangerous dogs and tackling irresponsible dog owners.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman responded that ministers were consulting on extending laws on dangerous dogs to all private property and the compulsory microchipping of all puppies.

Mrs Spelman described the proposed change in the law as "significant" and said: "It's absurd that the policemen in the village…have to even think twice about going onto private property to investigate."

Another Labour MP, Michael McCann, asked how microchipping dogs from "responsible registered" breeders would affect "irresponsible, backstreet breeders" of "dangerous status or weapon dogs".

Mrs Spelman argued responsible dog breeders would "set the example to all".

In response to criticism from other Labour members, including Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, who asked why the government had not yet acted after two years in power, the secretary of state said that "it would have been nice have a bit more cross-party support" on the issue.

Other questions were on subjects including plans to improve air quality, the extent of drought, and promoting food exports.

Environment questions were followed by a 15 minute question session on the work of the Electoral Commission and Church Commissioners.


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