Campaigners have branded proposals that will force dog owners to microchip their pet a "damp squib" and insisted that further action is needed to curb dog attacks.
Yesterday, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson outlined the plans, which will require all dog owners to have their animal chipped by 2016, or face a fine of up to £5,000.
In a bid to protect the postmen, delivery workers, nurses and other staff who regularly attend private properties, Mr Paterson also announced that legal protection would also be extended to cover attacks that occur on private property, though owners would not face prosecution should their pet attack a burglar or trespasser at their home.
While animal charities such as the Dogs Trust, Blue Cross and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, all of which are offering free microchipping until 2016, have all welcomed the proposal, critics say the move will do little to curb dog attacks in the UK.
According to the Daily Mail, Rachel Cunningham, from the Blue Cross, advised that while microchipping is helpful in reuniting lost dogs with their owners, further measures would be necessary to address the problem of dangerous canines.
She told the paper: "We need a set of clear preventative measures that give authorities powers to compel an irresponsible owner to muzzle their dog or attend a training course."
Ms Cunningham's suggestions were echoed by Dogs Today editor Beverley Cuddy, who said: "These amendments deal with what happens after a bite. But we have never had a problem identifying a dog behind an attack. We have nothing that moves u on, no preventative measures."
She added: "It is a huge damp squib. Irresponsible owners don't have tags and are not fined. Government have done the minimum that they could possibly do. The dangerous dogs side remains a big question."
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