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Campaigning for a better solution

OUR DOG LICENCE SKELETON PROPOSAL

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This is a skeleton proposal aimed at enhancing the regulation and oversight of dog ownership and welfare in the UK. It is built upon five core principles:

  • Regulation of breeding

  • Responsibility in ownership

  • Recording of dog bites and incidents

  • Raising awareness and knowledge through education

  • Resources for enforcement

Regulation of Breeding:

  • Requiring all litters of any breed to be registered to ensure traceability and accountability.

  • Establishing stringent licensing requirements for all dog breeders to ensure responsible breeding practices.

  • Mandating that every breeder, including any dog owner whose dog has had puppies, must obtain a licence to breed and distribute puppies.

  • Requiring breeders with a history of multiple litters to acquire an approved qualification in dog breeding within a specified timeframe.

  • Exploring measures such as price capping or implementing quality assurance checks to prevent exploitation of dog breeding for illicit purposes.

These initiatives aim to ensure transparency in breeding practices, traceability of puppies, and accountability of breeders, while also addressing issues such as tax evasion and illegal trading.

Responsibility in Ownership:

  • Implementing a mandatory dog ownership licensing system.

  • Requiring all dog owners to undergo theory and possibly practical training on dog behaviour within a specified period after acquiring a dog.

  • Encouraging adherence to a code of ethics or ‘Dog Highway Code’ and fostering community engagement through local programs designed to promote responsible ownership.

  • Introducing a three-tiered licensing system based on the breed and potentially the size/weight of the dog, to ensure appropriate handling and care.

  • Introducing a "Right to Earn" licence, enabling dogs to earn certain privileges through successful completion of training tests.

These measures aim to promote responsible dog ownership, enhance owner education, and foster community cohesion, ultimately leading to improved welfare standards for domestic dogs nationwide.

Recording Dog Bites and Incidents:

  • Establishing a centralised database to record and monitor dog-related incidents.

  • Mandating reporting of incidents by all stakeholders, including owners, breeders, vets, police and trainers.

  • Utilising incident data to inform policy decisions and identify areas for targeted intervention.

This initiative aims to improve public safety by providing accurate data on dog-related incidents, enabling proactive measures to mitigate risks and address emerging trends.

Raising Awareness and Knowledge through Education:

  • Implementing comprehensive educational programs for dog owners, breeders, and trainers.

  • Using an educational approach with first-time dog incidents, much like how the speed-awareness course is used for minor speeding offences.

  • Implementing comprehensive educational programs in schools to educate children about dog body language, behaviour, and safe interaction.

  • Developing age-appropriate curriculum modules to teach children how to recognise and interpret canine signals indicating fear, aggression, or friendliness.

By promoting education and professional development across all demographics, this initiative seeks to raise standards and knowledge, and ensure the welfare of dogs under human care.

Resources for Enforcement:

  • Establishing dedicated funding streams for enforcement and education initiatives.

  • Ensuring approaches to dog related incidents are mirrored across police forces and councils.

  • Strengthening regulatory bodies and enforcement agencies responsible for overseeing dog welfare.

  • Investing in technological solutions to streamline licensing processes and improve monitoring and enforcement capabilities.

These measures aim to bolster enforcement efforts, enhance regulatory compliance, and ensure effective implementation of the dog licence initiative.

Through this proposal, we aspire to create a robust regulatory framework that safeguards the welfare of dogs, promotes responsible ownership practices, and fosters a culture of accountability within the dog care community. By addressing the five key areas we aim to build a brighter future for dogs in the UK.

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Dog licensing research

The UK government have been presented with many pieces of research on dog legislation in recent years. Here are two examples:

01

Compelling research on dog licensing by Amity Shroads and Kat Gusarova.

The report found:

  • Substantial evidence exists that utilising visual identification as a way to determine breed, then using breed as a predictor for dog behaviour, is problematic.

  • Accurate identification of breed was able to be made in only 18% of 256 fatal bites. Of those 18%, 20 different breeds were represented. Therefore, it is not reliable to utilise the news media as a source of information regarding breed identification.

  • Three years after enacting a dog licensing model, the city of Calgary reported the lowest amount of dog bites in 25 years; 137 in 2009. For comparison, the year of 1985 had 621 dog bites reported.

02

Government commissioned responsible dog ownership report 2021.

The recommendations from the report include:

  • Dog behavioural training similar to speed awareness courses as part of sentencing/contingent order/community protection notice (CPN) enforcement regime which would be compulsory in the event of a destruction order or contingent order being imposed by the courts. The training is designed to support dog owners to understand their responsibilities and develop best practice in dog control.

  • Improved recording of dog attack data and incident characteristics.

  • Introduce statutory enforcement duty.

  • New legal requirements on dog ownership which require all people about to own a dog to have a ‘clean’ record, i.e. there is no evidence of complaints regarding dog ownership against them.

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