Stephen Metcalfe, prospective Conservative Memember of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock expressed his concern at plans by Gordon Brown’s government to force all families across Basildon & Thurrock to pay a compulsory levy to own a dog. This would apply to all dogs – including poodles and chihuahuas.
The Government has announced a consultation which includes proposals to compel all dog owners to pay for compulsory third party insurance to be allowed to own their own dog. Families would face “penalties” – fines or criminal sanctions – for breaching this requirement.
In practice, this ‘dog tax’ would not affect the owners of the most dangerous dogs as the Dangerous Dogs Act already bans the ownership and sale of fighting dogs like pit bull terriers. It is possible for dogs to be exempted from the ban, but owners must have their dogs neutered, muzzled and obtain third party insurance. Owners of dangerous dogs which are already illegal are unlikely to take out such insurance as they will just continue to defy the law.
There are an estimated 5.4 million households with dogs across England and Wales, including more than 30,000 homes across South Essex who would be required to pay a compulsory dog tax. Although some homes may already have pet insurance, the poorest homes will be hit the hardest by the new levy. The Government has admitted that this dog tax may result in more stray dogs and greater pressures on dog rescue centres.
“As always, Gordon Brown sees tax as the solution to every problem. His plans for a dog tax will penalise tens of thousands of law-abiding dog lovers across our area and do nothing to target irresponsible dog owners. I fear this will hit the poorest homes the hardest.
“We need tougher laws against the growing problem of dangerous dogs being used in acts of violence. But it is a sledgehammer to crack a nut to impose a dog tax on a poodle. Five more years of Gordon Brown will just make things worse for struggling families in Basildon & Thurrock.”