Dog attack MP rejects control proposals

By Alex Stevenson

A Labour backbencher scarred for life by a Rottweiler attack last year has said the government’s proposals on strengthening dangerous dog legislation do not go far enough.

Conwy MP Betty Williams has been “disfigured for life” after she was bitten by a “beast of a dog” in her local park last September.

The attack occurred after she had asked the dog-owner to put the dog on the lead. Although he did as she asked, the owner could not stop the dog biting Ms Williams as they passed.

Following an unsuccessful campaign to get the dog responsible for the bite put down, Ms Williams has turned her energies to lobbying the government on the issue.

“What I would like to see in a new act is that once a dog bites, that dog has to be impounded until proper investigations are made,” she said.

“A vicious attack like this leaves you with a mental scar. I’ve not been to a park since this incident.”

The government has today published proposals for toughening up the legislation.

Dangerous dog laws would be extended to cover private property. Compulsory microchipping of dogs and the introduction of dog control notices are also being considered.

The consultation announced today also proposes the introduction of compulsory third party insurance so victims are financially recompensed.

Ms Williams made clear she believes the consultation does not go far enough.

“I’m told the Dangerous Dogs Act was hurriedly put together and it could have been made a lot stronger,” she added.

“I’m told in parts of London they use dogs as weapons. It’s a macho thing to have a strong, vicious dog in order to protect you. I think that’s quite wrong and very, very worrying.”