Action to stop dog attacks has “comprehensively failed” despite seven people being savaged to death since 2007, a committee of MPs has said.
Proposals to make microchipping for dogs compulsory in England, and to extend the law so that an owner can be prosecuted if their dog attacks anyone on private property, were “belated” and “woefully inadequate”, the cross-party body concluded.
Despite the furore after a four-week-old baby, Denny Dolan, was dragged from his cot by a fox in south-east London, the report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee suggests that irresponsible dog ownership is a far bigger problem.
The number of people admitted to hospital after dog attacks more than doubled from 2,915 in 1997 to 6,118 in 2010, costing the NHS more than £3m a year, the report said. Around eight guide dogs a month, and thousands of livestock each year, are also attacked by dogs.
The report conceded that not all dogs of banned breeds were dangerous, and that some could be neutered rather than destroyed.