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I have just written to my MP about the new proposed legislation requiring all dog owners to take out third party insurance on their animals.Jesus.

Now that our prisons are busting at the seams, clearly someone thinks it's a grand idea to extend that wondrous sense of community to our animal rescue centres. Cos they aren't tragic enough. Here's my letter:

I am writing to you to voice my extreme dismay at the currently
discussed proposals regarding dog legislation, specifically the idea of
forcing all owners to take third party insurance in order to compensate
victims of dog attacks.

I would like to quote to you an excerpt from the government's response
to a petition re hare hunting in 2009:

"It is important to remember changing legislation is only justified if
there is clear evidence that the changes are necessary and that they
will achieve their stated goal."

Please tell me, how do the new proposals fit this government's
criteria stated above? Or has the government moved from this stance?

Why would someone who sets their dog on another person suddenly feel
stricken by the need to get insurance? They already show lack of regard
for others, and contempt for the law, do you really think that they
will rush out and insure their dogs? And how is this to be enforced?

This proposal, if made law, will not touch those who use their dogs
illegally. The only people this will affect are ordinary dog owners,
who may not be able to afford the insurance; so then what? How many
gentle dogs will get put down because their owners just can't afford
the cash...consider pensioners at this point, often people who do not
have much spare money, but love their dogs as lifelong companions.
Consider so many people already suffering from the credit crunch. And
in the end, how many dogs would end up abandoned?

I do not own a dog, and as an owner of four cats, I feel very strongly
that dog owners need to be responsible for their animals. But
commonsense alone makes it clear that this proposal is not the answer.

The way to fight crime is not to bandy about new legislation which
makes more people potentially criminal. This particular proposal
targets the wrong group entirely. Those already operating outside the
law regarding their dogs will get round it or ignore it.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC)
Seconded. Very well put.
Mar. 16th, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you hun.
Mar. 16th, 2010 10:59 am (UTC)

What was wrong with dog licenses, she asks plaintively?
Mar. 16th, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
An excellent question.
Mar. 16th, 2010 11:09 am (UTC)
Fantastic letter.
May I copy it (edit it a little bit) and send it to my mp too?
Mar. 16th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
Go for it, I'm flattered it can be of use to you:-)
Mar. 16th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
Mar. 18th, 2010 08:21 am (UTC)
I love your jubilating owl!
Mar. 16th, 2010 01:33 pm (UTC)
oh, very well put indeed. The most ridiculously unenforceable and counter-productive proposal I've ever heard of!

(snorgles silky doggeth-beastie)
Mar. 18th, 2010 08:16 am (UTC)
Glad you like it! I couldn't work out how they would enforce it either...
Mar. 16th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
You speak, they crumble like crumbly things in Crumblesville Arizona during National Crumble Week.
Beware the wrath of the Boot.
Mar. 18th, 2010 08:17 am (UTC)
Fear me!

And definitely fear my crumble.
Mar. 16th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
Whatin the name of Jim Dale..?
...and what an imact you had: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8570830.stm Hurrah!
Mar. 18th, 2010 08:21 am (UTC)
Re: Whatin the name of Jim Dale..?
It is indeed my preternatural powers of persuasion that have wrought this change, and not at all the idea's obvious daftness...

Mar. 18th, 2010 08:24 am (UTC)
Re: Whatin the name of Jim Dale..?
I am glad you only use your powers for good!
Mar. 16th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to disagree with you, but I think compulsory insurance is a good idea. HOWEVER I'd also team it with compulsory licensing, registration and identity chipping and make sure the insurance covered the dog's health, not just insuring against third party claims. Yes this would be a stupid law and I'm glad it has been stopped, but I feel the whole question of dog ownership needs to be be looked at.

I don't object to insurance on cost grounds. Having a dog is expensive. People need to realise this. An added expense to ensure that the dog is properly treated when ill (if you accept my first point)is seems fair to me.

The Welsh assembly is looking at compulsory identichipping of all dogs in Wales, which seems to be at least a step in the right direction to me.

The charity clinic very commonly treat pedigree dogs, for which the owners have paid hundreds, if not on occasions £1500 for, which they then cannot afford to even have vaccinated. If these people had taken on a rescue dog, or puppy, or one of the the many which are given away free to good homes, they could have used this money to actually care for the dog they had bought.

I get so frustrated when there are things that could be done to improve a dog's quality of life and the owners cannot afford, or even worse, choose not to afford to get them treated.

*gets down off soap box*
Mar. 18th, 2010 08:14 am (UTC)
Please don't be sorry to disagree with me! I enjoy hearing your ideas and having my own challenged.

I think we are dealing with two very different issues here; one is the use of a dog in an act of assault, and the other is dog welfare.

The first, I think, should be covered by existing laws and be treated as seriously as any other kind of assault.

Regarding the second, I think your argument has a few holes in it. Example: I know a brilliant lady who owns stables. She also takes in dysfunctional dogs, and works in dog psycholopy and dog agility. Her team has done brilliantly at Crufts. She owns six or seven of the nutters, and they all live together in a camper van at the farm. Business nearly went under during the recent crisis, a few thousand spent on dog insurance would have nailed it stone dead. Who would benefit from this? Certainly not her dogs.

And, say this legislation was brought in now, what happens to all those dogs in rescue centres? From having few people ready to take them on, we lower the numbers to those who are, not only able to afford the insurance now, but are sure to be so unaffected by the credit crunch now and forever, they can guarantee to be able to pay the premiums all the dogs life. I'm a contractor, so that's me out of the running...

Regarding charity services, surely it's easy just to ask the dog owner to bring proof of benefits or statement of income before treatment.

You see my concerns. Financial concerns won't daunt the irresponsible. Beyond this, I agree with compulsory microchipping and vaccinations, and I agree we need to find ways to make people more responsible for their dogs. But I don't think we should penalise good dog owners to do it.
Mar. 18th, 2010 08:16 am (UTC)

You know what I mean!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )



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