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Benyon strains at the leash during dangerous dog debate

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Newbury MP says 'status dogs' should be called 'stupid people's dogs' in Westminster Hall debate

NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon suggested that so-called ‘status dogs' should be called ‘stupid people's dogs' during a debate on the regulation of dangerous dogs in Westminster Hall.

During the debate on Tuesday, Mr Benyon also said that the Government may consider the compulsory microchipping of dogs.

Mr Benyon, responding to Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson who told of one of his constituents being bitten by a Staffordshire bull terrier, said that no-one can fail to be shocked by the savagery described: "We understand the very real concerns about safety and the impact on communities. We also recognise the immense pressure on dog rescue centres as they see an ever-increasing rise in the number of Staffordshire bull crosses, so-called status dogs.

"I wish that we could somehow get away from using that phrase, as it indicates some sort of status for the people who are using the dogs in a malign way. Calling them 'stupid people's dogs', or something like that, might be more relevant."

He also focused on the animal welfare issues, saying: "Very often, these dogs are cruelly abandoned by their owners, and we often forget that in this debate."

He stressed, however, that action should be taken with care: "There are no easy answers to this problem, we do not want to rush into changes in the existing law without giving thought as to whether they will work or not.

"We ought to be sure that any changes will have a role in reducing instances of irresponsible dog ownership and particularly, of course, dog attacks."

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