Speaking during his visit to the Dogs Trust the Minister said:
“There are around half a million dogs in Wales and we are a nation of animal lovers. People expect the Welsh Government to take animal welfare seriously and we are taking action to encourage more responsible dog ownership.
“We want to encourage more people to be responsible owners and to make an informed decision before bringing a dog into their homes. The Welsh Government is promoting a culture of change in attitudes to dog ownership.
“Our proposals through the Control of Dogs Bill, which is out for consultation until 1 March, focus on early intervention. The intervention process will include a requirement for mandatory training.
“By encouraging effective dog training and owners understanding their dog’s needs, tangible higher welfare benefits will be seen for the dog. At the same time the owner will know how to control their dog.
“An owner who takes the time and patience to positively reward his or her dog during training shows a key understanding of dog behaviour. This is an effective method of training which has benefits for both the dog and owner.
“We believe that by using legislation and developing higher welfare standards, we can make a significant difference to preventing incidents of dog attacks in Wales. There are a lot of good and responsible dog owners but I want to see those numbers increase.
“I was impressed at what I saw at the Dogs Trust and our proposals are another important step in our ongoing work to ensure we have more responsible dog ownership in Wales. Other work includes taking action to address dog breeding and compulsory microchipping.”
Dogs Trust Campaigns Manager for Wales, Sian Edwards said:
“The issue of out of control dogs is a very serious one and we believe that the promotion of responsible dog ownership through positive reinforcement training, as demonstrated to Mr. Griffiths at the centre, is the way forward. At Dogs Trust Bridgend, roughly over 50% of dogs handed in to us have had insufficient training and are given up for this reason. We welcome the Welsh Government’s commitment to tackling dog control issues and promoting responsible ownership and eagerly await the outcome of the current consultation.”