Dog attack deaths will continue without comprehensive overhaul of dangerous dogs laws, says CWU
9th February 2012
Commenting on the deaths of an 83 year old man and 49 year old
mother of five following dog attacks, the Communication Workers
Union is today (Thursday) calling for urgent changes to dangerous
CWU welcomes signals from the government that they may make
microchips compulsory for all dogs, but the union warns that a far
more comprehensive approach is needed to tackle the failing of
outdated dogs laws. Two postal workers suffered serious dog attacks
in the last month in Finchley and Norwich and 6,000 are attacked by
dogs every year.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes
said: "The devastating news of two more deaths from dog
attacks should be a wake-up call for the government that change is
urgently needed to outdated and failing dogs laws.
"Compulsory microchips must form part of a comprehensive
package of measures, as supported by animal charities, enforcement
agencies, CWU and businesses. A piecemeal approach will not do. We
need a change in the law to happen now. How many more tragedies
will have to occur before the Government takes firm action to
protect workers, the public and children from dangerous dogs?"
In addition to compulsory microchipping, the CWU wants to see an
extension to the law to cover attacks on private land where 70% of
attacks on postal workers occur but irresponsible dog owners are
immune from prosecution. CWU is also calling for increased police
and dog warden powers, the introduction of Dog Control Notices,
better enforcement and stiffer court penalties.
Dave Joyce, CWU health and safety officer,
added: "This has gone on far too long. Our campaign has gained
the support of both the Scottish Government and the Northern
Ireland Assembly which changed the law in 2011. Lobbying this week
at the Welsh Assembly also looks likely to bring changes to laws in
Wales - Westminster must stop dragging its feet and act fast before
more lives are ruined."
CWU represents postal workers and telecom engineers who suffer
more than 6,000 dog attacks each year and has been campaigning for
a change in the law since 2008.
In an April 2010 letter, Prime Minister David Cameron gave the
assurance he supported CWU's Bite Back campaign for tougher
dangerous dogs laws but has so far failed to bring in the changes
CWU and other organisations have a No 10 Downing Street
Organisations backing the campaign include RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Battersea Dogs Home, Kennel Club, the Police Federation, Association of Chief Police Officers, Royal College of Nursing, vets national bodies, Dog Warden Association, and Royal Mail.