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Written Statement - Draft Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill

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John Griffiths AM, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development

Tomorrow I will be publishing the draft Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill for consultation with our stakeholders and the people of Wales.

The Welsh Government is committed to promoting responsible ownership of all animals and ensuring their needs are met. The Road Map on Dog Welfare, reflecting the principles of the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, sets out a series of milestones on guidance, advice, legislation and enforcement to deliver improvements in dog welfare. As part of this package of control measures to encourage responsible ownership on 8th February 2012, I announced that the Welsh Government would proceed to introduce legislation on the subject of out of control dogs.  

The draft Bill sets out a number of proposals for dealing with out of control dogs preferably at an early juncture, provide for a new enforcement mechanism and lead to more responsible dog ownership across Wales. 

Whilst the majority of dogs are kept under control and do not represent a risk to the public, dog attacks are on the increase and children, those visiting homes in the course of their employment and other animals including assistance dogs are often the victims. The Welsh Government intends to do more to protect children, families and our communities in Wales from out of control dogs and the publication of this draft Bill is a first step towards that objective.  

I am therefore extending an invitation to anyone interested in responding to these proposals to do so within the timeframe set out in the consultation document.