View Full Version : The Right to Own a Dog

28th February 2010, 06:29 PM
UK calls for passing a competence test before you may own a dog. They just leap-frogged over the breeders and are aiming right for the pet owners. Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/yknafw8
Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

28th February 2010, 11:58 PM
As I'm in Australia maybe someone can help me understand the UK system in regards to this part in the news.
"The proposals are among a range of measures to overhaul dog laws in England and Wales being considered by senior Ministers, who are expected to announce a public consultation within weeks."

By this does it mean that within weeks the public will be able to read what is being proposed and considered by Ministers. Public consultation sound like the Ministers may want the public to respond back, maybe with a for or against, or maybe suggest amendments, or maybe provide any information that may be of help. Does the public include the public that may belong to organisations say like the Kennel Clubs or Breed Clubs or Dog Training Clubs and where they as an organisation could similarly respond back to the public consultation.

The news article mentions increased figures by Police and a mounting public concern about the spate of serious injuries and deaths inflicted by dogs. Is this so and if so what might be of help or provide a solution to this other than what is being proposed and considered. But then maybe we should wait a few weeks to read exactly what is being proposed and considered.

3rd March 2010, 02:35 AM
News of the UK "leaked" document appeared even in Australia resulting in the following and from this link address.

Herald Sun
March 02, 2010
RSPCA calls for test for would-be dog owners
By Katherine Firkin

THE RSPCA has urged the Victorian Government to consider introducing a "competency test" for would-be dog owners.

The measures are being considered by the UK government, and Victorian RSPCA CEO Maria Mercurio said she would urge the Victorian government to follow suit.

"We would support any measure that would increase responsible pet ownership," Ms Mercurio said. "We would love to have discussions with the Victorian government along the same lines."

Owners would have to prove a basic understanding of their dogs and would have to show they know how to responsibly look after their pet.

Ms Mercurio said the RSPCA had long supported the notion of licensing pet owners, but would want to ensure that the testing system didn't unfairly exclude some. "Some people aren't good at taking tests, but they might be very good owners," she said.

Port Melbourne resident Polly Harvey said she supported the idea, but wouldn't be prepared to pay for a test.

"It's a good idea, but owners should be subsidised for it or given discounts on their registration," Ms Harvey said.

Richmond's Bryan Bussell said the plan was flawed. "Most of the people who are irresponsible have dogs who are illegal to own and haven't registered them," he said. "So why would they take a responsibility test?"

Ms Mercurio said policing such a policy would be difficult but said the RSPCA would continue to push for similar measures in Australia.

"I think we always have to continue to push the boundaries to push for the best possible outcome and sometimes that takes radical proposals," Ms Mercurio said.

"We would be proponents of trying every measure to improve responsible pet ownership."

Critics of the UK proposal said the tests were unnecessary and would leave responsible pet owners out of pocket.

3rd March 2010, 02:37 AM
The UK "leaked" document "competency test" has spread to Australian TV with the popular Sunrise morning show broadcasting a segment across Australia. See recorded video of it at this link address and it appears after a small advertisement.

3rd March 2010, 07:08 PM
In Australia some dog breeders do ask questions and even mention contracts, and the responses from puppy seekers could mean the difference in them obtaining a puppy or not from those breeders. Does this happen in the UK scene?

In Australia regarding the recent news about "competency test" I think several organisations might decide to lobby the Government. Say like this one and the following from this link address, and I note the newspaper mentioned - "An online poll by the Herald Sun yesterday found 77 per cent of people supported the plan."

Herald Sun
March 04, 2010
Lost Dogs' Home put pet owners to the test
By Elissa Doherty

PROSPECTIVE dog and cat owners will not be able to adopt in future if they fail a test on pet ownership at one of Melbourne's biggest animal shelters.

In a new licensing scheme being developed by the Lost Dogs' Home, people will be quizzed on everything from microchipping, pet health issues, costs of ownership and combating animal boredom.

The test will be voluntary at first but the home will lobby the Government for the measure to be introduced at pet shops and animal shelters statewide.

Do you deserve a pet? Click here to take the test and tell us what you thought of it in the comments below.

The home says too many of the 20,000 dogs and cats who end up at the shelter each year are victims of cruelty and neglect, and have behavioural problems.

Managing director Dr Graeme Smith said they had been working on the scheme for more than a year in a bid to stop impulse buying, and to weed out irresponsible and cruel owners.

He cited the sad case of Buckley the pit bull terrier, whose ears and tail were hacked off.

He said they wanted public feedback on the cat and dog tests, which each involve more than 50 multiple choice questions.

The shelter plans to introduce discounted adoption costs for those who pass the test as an incentive. "There are some people who should never own pets," he said. "If you only get 50 per cent you get a licence to own a pet rock."

"But this is about educating the public about proper pet care ... and helps them make the right choice. "Some people who sit the test might think, 'I've done all this, it's not for me'."

The measure comes after the RSPCA yesterday called for the Victorian Government to follow the UK's lead and introduce a "competency test" for dog owners.

An online poll by the Herald Sun yesterday found 77 per cent of people supported the plan.

Dr Smith said the move was aimed at education, not exclusion, and applicants would be given handbooks to help them answer the questions. They could also sit the test several times if needed.

He admitted it would not be foolproof but hoped it would prevent the most irresponsible owners from adopting.

Questions in the multiple choice quiz include the types of food that is toxic to dogs, penalties for mistreating dogs, grooming and if cats should be confined at night.

RSPCA Victoria CEO Maria Mercurio said licensing was a "great idea" in theory but a competency-based test could pose problems.