Pit Bull Terrier (Banned in the UK)

Dog owners will face prosecution if their animal bites someone on private property under new legislation being drawn up by the Government.

They could also be served with dog control orders, dubbed “dogbos”, if their pets behave aggressively, which would require them to adhere to a number of strict conditions such as keeping the animal on a lead in public places or having it trained.

The plans to overhaul the dangerous dogs act will be published next month by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, according to The Times.

The move was welcomed by animal charities and unions who have fought for justice for the victims of badly trained dogs.

More than 5,000 postal workers and 400 telecom engineers are reportedly attacked by dogs each year.

Earlier this month, Royal Mail suspended deliveries to an entire street in Saltish, Cornwall, after a postal worker claimed she was bitten by a Jack Russell terrier.

But around 70% of incidents take place on private property, which is not covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

In 2008, Keith Davies had to undergo a six-hour operation after being attacked by two rottweilers while delivering post in Cambridge. But criminal charges brought against the owner were dropped because the incident took place on a private road.

Animal welfare organisations have warned about the rise in the numbers of “weapon dogs”, or aggressive animals used as status symbols.

The Communication Workers Union, which had launched a “Bite-Back” Campaign, calling for changes in the law on dangerous dogs, said the new legislation would force owners to take more responsibility for their dog’s behaviour.

Dave Joyce, the union’s safety and environment officer, said: “People always say ‘my dog never did that before’ but that’s not good enough. They haven’t tried hard enough.

“The majority of Britain’s dogs don’t present any problem but these changes are needed to drive responsible ownership and make people more cautious in respect of keeping their dog under control.”

The Kennel Club backed the new but said dog owners should be protected from prosecution if their dog bit after being provoked or attacks a burglar.

The RSPCA wants all dogs to be microchipped, to link them to an owner.

Last year, an independent inquiry into dog breeding recommended that all puppies be microchipped before they are sold on.

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