Two Con-Dem government departments were in the dog-house today after MPs gave them a tongue-lashing for failing to put irresponsible mutt-owners on the leash quicker.
The environment, food and rural affairs committee barred its teeth saying current laws had "comprehensively failed" to tackle thoughtless owners and gave the government stick over dog attack "inaction."
It said proposals published last week to introduce compulsory dog microchipping in England and extend law so owners can be prosecuted if dogs attack an individual on private property were "belated" and "woefully inadequate."
And ministers' "inability" to provide detailed answers on a range of dog control and welfare questions had done little to reassure the MPs about the government's priority on the problem of dangerous dogs.
The committee called for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to urgently bring forward a Bill to consolidate the "fragmented" legislation relating to dog control and welfare.
Committee chairwoman Tory MP Anne McIntosh said: "Evidence we received from Defra and the Home Office did little to reassure us that either department is giving sufficient priority to dog control and welfare issues.
"Since 2007 dogs have killed seven people, including five children, in private homes. The NHS also spends over £3 million annually treating dog attack injuries."
She said eight dogs which help deaf or blind people, as well as thousands of livestock annually, are attacked by dogs.
"More than 100,000 strays are found each year. Incidences of cruelty and neglect are rising and many dogs are out of control due to the irresponsible or deliberate actions of a minority of owners."
Post workers and milk workers are often dog targets. Communication Workers Union general secretary Billy Hayes said: "We hope that Westminster will act on the excellent recommendations in the report."
The union's health and safety officer Dave Joyce said: "Action is desperately needed to improve England's failing dogs laws.
"The law has already been changed in Scotland and Northern Ireland with Wales also currently legislating.
"We're concerned there is no timetable for the implementation of new legislation. This is urgent because 12 postal workers are attacked every day while we're waiting for new laws."
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