Welsh MP to put forward bill on dog attacks following campaign

A Welsh MP has committed to putting forward a private members bill in the House of Commons that would hold dog owners responsible if their pets attack livestock, and would also provide a compensation mechanism for farmers affected.

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake has thrown his support behind a campaign involving, among other groups, the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW).

The campaign is entitled ‘Your dog, your responsibility’, and is calling for laws that recognise the serious effect of dog attacks.

According to the FUW, North Wales Police is the only police force that records data for dog attacks on livestock; these figures shows that 89% of all dog attacks on livestock happen when the dogs stray from home.

“We are very grateful to North Wales Police for recording this data. Previous campaigns have focused on dog walkers, but as figures show, the main issue appears to be those that escape from the back garden,” said Dr. Hazel Wright, the FUW’s senior policy officer.

“As the law stands at the moment there is very little that can be done to recompense the farmer or to minimise the chance of re-offending,” she added.

The FUW argues that the only way to tackle dog attacks is to introduce laws that act as a “powerful deterrent” for owners.

According to the FUW, the number of dog attacks on livestock is probably higher than the statistics actually show, as many farmers elect not to report an incident due to a lack of confidence in the legal system.

Speaking about his upcoming bill, Lake said. “This is a major issue for the livestock farmers of Wales, impacting on incomes and in some cases causing severe mental health issues for those involved.

“I will be putting forward a private members bill when parliament is back in session in an attempt to fast track much needed powers aimed at reducing the incidence of this serious threat to rural livelihoods,” he added.