Julie Morgan AM in Welsh dog attack microchip debate
- 8 February 2012
- From the section Wales
An assembly member is to lead a Senedd debate later on introducing compulsory microchipping for dogs in Wales.
Cardiff North AM Julie Morgan wants the Welsh government to introduce new laws to force dog owners to take responsibility for their pets.
She said her campaign, launched last September, was sparked by a dog attack on a young boy in her constituency.
"The little boy's injuries were horrifying and the trauma he suffered was dreadful," she said.
"This prompted me to explore ways of improving the law both to give more protection to the public and also to improve the welfare of dogs".
Research carried out by Mrs Morgan has revealed that someone is attacked by a dog three times every week in Wales.
It is thought more instances are not reported.
Breeds of dog listed as causing injuries in attacks included Staffordshire bull terriers, rottweilers and alsatians, but there are also incidents involving Jack Russells and border collies.
Speaking before the debate Mrs Morgan said it was within the power of the assembly to legislate on the microchipping of dogs.
The process would help responsible owners when their dogs got lost and also prevent those less responsible denying ownership, she said.
She said she wanted the Welsh government to pass a new law to shift the responsibility for the behaviour of dogs to the owners.
And, she added, she favoured new legislation, such as that in Scotland, to bring in control orders for dogs when it is felt they are displaying dangerous tendencies.
"It seems clear that more effective legislation is needed," said Mrs Morgan.
"It is widely agreed that the Dangerous Dogs Act does not work and was done in haste.
"Focusing on breeds has not reduced the number of incidents."
The Kennel Club, which promotes the welfare of dogs, is also campaigning for all dogs to be microchipped.
Kevin Jones, secretary of Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of South Wales, has said it is important that owners take responsibility for their dogs.
Sian Edwards, campaigns manager for Dogs Trust, said the charity had been campaigning for micro-chipping, and wanted to use it as "a way of identifying dogs and making sure that every dog in Wales is linked directly to an owner that has absolute care for that dog's welfare throughout the whole of its life".
She said the chips would mean "people can no longer just shrug their shoulders and say 'oh well, we don't know who the dog belongs to'."
But Elaine Everest, journalist and author of A New Puppy in the family, said: "I think it's a step too far.
"There are too many laws being aimed at dog owners these days."
She added: "It's just something else to burden the normal dog owner with."