Britain cracks down on unruly dogs, owners

March 9, 2010 at 11:01 AM

LONDON, March 9 (UPI) -- All dogs in Britain should have microchips and owners should be covered by insurance to pay for injuries from attacks, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said.

"People have a fundamental right to feel safe," said Johnson, a former postman who was bitten twice on his rounds.

The proposed initiatives would require dogs to be fenced in, muzzled or kept on a leash and owners would be required to attend a dog-handling course, Johnson said in a report co-authored by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn.

The initiatives would make it illegal for a dog to be out of control in any place -- public or private, The Times of London reported Tuesday.

Nearly 100 people a week are treated in Britain for dog bites and the number of attacks has risen from 3,079 in 1997-98 to 5,221 last year. There's also been a twelfe-fold increase in dogfighting, said the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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