Felixstowe: New government dog measures step in right direction but lack bite, warns Blue Cross

Blue Cross chief executive Kim Hamilton and Andrew Gillon, manager of the Felixstowe Blue Cross.

Blue Cross chief executive Kim Hamilton and Andrew Gillon, manager of the Felixstowe Blue Cross. - Credit: Archant

BOSS of an animal welfare charity with a pet rescue home in Felixstowe says proposed new government laws on dogs do not go far enough to deal with irresponsible owners.

Kim Hamilton, chief executive of the Blue Cross, which has one of its busiest re-homing centres in Walton High Street, welcomed the decision to introduce compulsory microchipping of all dogs and an extension of laws to ensure owners of dogs who attack on private property can be prosecuted.

The charity will be offering free microchipping to dogs and cats at its network of animal hospitals and rehoming centres but said databases would need to work together, with registrations kept up to date by owners, and that there is still need for further regulation to help stop dog attacks.

“The government’s decision to introduce compulsory microchipping of all dogs promises to make a lasting impression on animal welfare,” said Ms Hamilton.

“Blue Cross has campaigned long and hard for microchipping and will be offering free chips to dogs and cats at its animal hospitals and rehoming. But these changes alone will be little comfort for the victims of dog attacks.”

While the changes announced will also allow owners of dogs who attack on private property to be prosecuted, the charity warn such action will still be too little, too late.

The charity has been calling for the introduction of preventative measures for potentially dangerous dogs, which would allow the authorities to step in after signs of antisocial behaviour but before an attack has taken place.

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“The current situation still fails pets and endangers the public,” said Ms Hamilton.

“An early preventative strategy would educate dog owners, helping to improve their pets’ behaviour and knowledge of their responsibilities. Blue Cross believes that dog ownership can be a good thing – regardless of the breed – when people are properly informed and supported.

“Without tackling this problem the reputation of some dog owners, and the breeds of dogs they choose to own, will continue to suffer. This could lead to people being penalised and marginalized.”

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