Union says tragic death shows need to change laws on dangerous dogs

Tim Lezard

CWU logoThe CWU has expressed its condolences and deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Jade Anderson, the 14-year-old killed by five dogs at a friend’s house in Manchester on Tuesday.

The union, which has long campaigned against dangerous dogs, said the dogs at the property were known to postal workers in the area, although none had been attacked. This death is the 15th killing by dogs since 1989.

CWU health and safety officer Dave Joyce said: “This is another tragic loss of a young life and CWU sends condolences to the family and friends of Jade Anderson. It highlights again the danger posed by dogs and the need to tackle irresponsible ownership. How many more lives must be lost before action is taken?

CWU would express the view that leaving children alone with dogs is strongly inadvisable and is a risk. Greater awareness of the risks is needed and more emphasis should put on preventative measures such as training and restraint.

“Defra’s recent announcement of proposed changes to dangerous dogs laws was welcome, but it doesn’t go far enough and we still have no timetable of implementation. Westminster is still dragging its feet when action is urgently needed.”

CWU has been campaigning for changes to the UK’s dog control laws through its Bite Back campaign, which was set up in 2008 following near-fatal attacks on two postal workers in Sheffield and Cambridge. CWU’s campaign has achieved new laws in Scotland and Northern Ireland, with Wales also currently legislating.

23,000 postmen and women and hundreds of telecom engineers have been attacked by dogs in the last five years with many seriously injured. 70% of these attacks take place on private property where irresponsible owners are immune from criminal prosecution.

This latest fatality brings the total number of deaths in the UK from dog attacks to 15, since Kelly Lynch in 1989 (ten children and five adults).

Prime Minister David Cameron gave written assurances to CWU in April 2010 that changes would be made to UK dangerous dogs laws.

Defra’s recent announcement of proposed changes has been welcomed by CWU. However, CWU says the measures do not go far enough and there is also no timetable for introducing these necessary urgent changes.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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