Dog owners to take competency tests

dogDog lovers in the United Kingdom will be forced to take costly tests to prove they can handle their pets, under new government proposals designed to curb dangerous dogs.

Owners will face a competency exam to prove they can control their animals, including harmless breeds like Yorkshire terriers, The Sun newspaper reported. Microchips must also be inserted under the dogs’ skin, while owners will have to buy third-party insurance in case their pet attacks a human or another animal.

The RSPCA welcomed the review of legislation but blasted the new tests. “We would not support anything that would hit sensible owners while failing to police those who are a danger,” a spokesman added. A leaked government document said: “There have been suggestions for a competency test for all or some dog owners, akin to the driving theory test.”

Other proposals due to be floated by the government include giving the police and local authorities the power to impose Asbos on the owners of unruly dogs, and extending the law to cover attacks everywhere. At the moment, dogs which attack people on private property where they are allowed to be are exempt from the law, despite the complaints from injured postmen.

According to Wikipedia an Asbos or Anti-social behevaiour order is a civil order made against a person who has been shown, on the balance of evidence, to have engaged in anti-social behaviour in the UK and in the Republic of Ireland. The orders, designed originally by Tony Blair in 1998, were designed to be imposed after minor incidents that would not ordinarily warrant prosecution. The orders then restrict behavior in some way, by prohibiting a return to a certain area or shop, or by restricting public behavior such as swearing or drinking.

As the ASBO is a civil order, the defendant has no right to evidence that might disprove the assertions of the plaintiff, though violating an ASBO can incur up to five years imprisonment.

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