PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES

HOUSE OF COMMONS

OFFICIAL REPORT

Standing Committee C

DOGS (FOULING OF LAND) BILL

Third Sitting

Wednesday 28 June 1995

CONTENTS

CLAUSE 1, as amended, agreed to.

CLAUSES 2 to 7 agreed to.

Bill, as amended, to be reported.

Committee rose at fifteen minutes to Eleven o'clock.

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73 Standing Committee C Wednesday 28 June 1995

[MR. JAMES HILL in the Chair]

Dogs (Fouling of Land) Bill Clause 1
Offence

Question proposed [21 June], That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

10.31 am

Question again proposed.

Mr. Harold Elletson (Blackpool, North): I do not want to detain the Committee too long. We are more concerned about horses this week than about dogs. We have had a good run round the park on the issue and there is not much point in continuing for too much longer. However, I want to put one or two worries about the Bill and clause 1, in particular, on the record. Dog fouling may not be the most important political issue facing the country, but it is of great concern to our constituents, particularly to my constituents. A young girl in my constituency, Rachel Hall, was blinded by the disease toxocariasis that is caused by dog fouling. That has created much local concern and it has been highlighted in a determined campaign by my local evening paper, the Evening Gazette. I wish to put on the record my appreciation and thanks and those of my constituents to that newspaper for the campaign that it has waged on the subject and for its support of the Bill. Obviously, dog fouling is a matter of concern not just to people in Blackpool, but to people throughout the country. I have received a great deal of correspondence about the Bill, as I am sure have all Members. I have received letters from local authorities, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Pet Advisory Committee, the Association of District Councils and others in support of the Bill. The Bill will deregulate a highly complex and bureaucratic process. At the moment, local authorities must apply to the Department of the Environment for byelaws to deal with dog fouling problems, and those 74 byelaws can take months or even years to be put in place. The Bill will create a national offence of dog fouling that can be imposed by local authorities. THE CHAIRMAN'S attention have been called to the fact that six Members were not present, he suspended the proceedings; and other Members having come into the Room and six Members being present, the proceedings were resumed.

Mr. Elletson: I conclude by saying that the Bill is not an attack on dog owners; it is about responsible dog ownership. It will help make more pleasant many of our towns and cities. It will also encourage those in charge of dogs to act responsibly and to think of others. I commend clause 1 to the Committee.

Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley): I, too, shall be brief. I supported the concept of such a Bill from the start. That is why, when the hon. Member for Blackpool, North (Mr. Elletson) asked if I would serve on the Committee, I was pleased to do so. My only regret is that certain members of the Committee have, I believe—I cannot prove it—deliberately delayed our proceedings in order to prevent another Bill reaching its Committee stage. That is sadly regrettable. The Wild Mammals (Protection) Bill should at least have been debated, even though it has no chance of being enacted. I support clause 1.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2 to 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Elletson: On a point of order, Mr. Hill. This is an appropriate moment to thank you for chairing the Committee and to say how much we appreciate how well you dealt with our little peccadilloes and the various difficulties that we encountered during the past two weeks.

Mr. Pike: Further to that point of order, Mr. Hill. I certainly support those comments. I have served on many Committees chaired by you, Mr. Hill, and you always ensure that we reach a conclusion, although perhaps not as speedily as some would wish and not always as fast as you might wish. You chaired our proceedings with the neutrality and respect that we would expect from a person of your standing.

The Chairman: I am overwhelmed. Thank you all for three most stimulating Wednesday mornings.

Bill, as amended, to be reported.

Committee rose at fifteen minutes to Eleven o'clock.

THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:

Hill, Mr. James (Chairman)

Beresford, Sir Paul

Elletson, Mr.

Evans, Mr. Nigel

Pike, Mr.

Sykes, Mr.