Following the annoucement that the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee were to examine the current legislation on dangerous dogs Slee Blackwell’s specialist dog bite solicitor James McNally was invited to Westminster to meet with MP Neil Parish and the EFRA clerks to discuss potential changes to the law.
EFRA were looking into issues surrounding breed specific legislation and also how effective the Government’s current approach is to protecting the public from dangerous dog attacks.
James met with Neil Parish and his clerks at Portcullis House next to the Houses of Parliament in June 2018 to discuss his own experiences of working with the current law and legislation. He was able to give specific examples from his specialist dog bite practice of the circumstances which surround many dog bites and importantly the huge impact that they can have on dog bite victims. James was able to explain that it his view that while the breed involved can often offer an explanation for the reason behind an attack or bite and can be relevant in respect of the seriousness of the injury suffered he has seen no evidence that any one breed is more “dangerous” than any others. James stressed the need for legislation which sought to prevent attacks rather than punish a dog owner after an attack has taken place and also the importance for compulsory insurance to ensure that dog bite victims could recover not just compensation for their injuries but also access to private treatment and recovery of lost earnings.
Given the confusion about current laws and legislation James also suggested that a new act be created called the Dog Control Act. This would also serve to remove the misconception that only “Dangerous” dogs cause harm.
“This was a fantastic opportunity to meet with those in power who can advise the government on potential new leigislation. It was apparent from speaking to them that they were unaware of the true extent of the harm that can be done by any dog regardless of breed and the huge impact that inujuries caused by uninsured dog owners can have on victims. I am hopeful that they will take on board some of the comments I made and perhaps approach their task from a slightly different perspective.”
James submitted written evidence as well to the EFRA committee which can be read here: https://tinyurl.com/y3oxyjes