Page last updated at 13:21 GMT, Monday, 31 January 2011

Dogs (Amendment) Bill

The position of farmers using a dog to protect their property against trespass became a talking-point during the debate on the Dogs (Amendment) Bill, on 31 January 2011.

Stephen Farry of the Alliance Party proposed a number of amendments regarding the matter of trespass.

Mr Farry contended that the bill did not allow for a commonsense approach.

He gave the example of a person with dementia unknowingly trespassing on private land. This person would have no legal protection if the landowner set a dog on them.

The Alliance amendments were rejected by all the other major parties.

Stephen Moutray of the DUP, who chairs the agriculture committee, said the amendments would dilute the protection afforded to the farmer and his family in the event of someone trespassing on their property.

Agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew also spoke against the Alliance amendments, which were defeated on an oral vote.

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