The Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 has come in for much criticism on these here pages over the years. It has singularly failed to accomplish what it set out to achieve – dog attacks have risen, cases of irresponsible ownership are as high as ever, abuse of dogs is spiralling and tragically we have just seen the 4th death of a child to dog attack in the past 4 years. But not only is the DDA costing lives with its ineffective focus on the banning of breeds, it is also costing the tax payer an absolute FORTUNE.
Take a look to see just how cash intensive Dangerous Dogs Act cases can be. Bear in mind, this is one case and is based on dogs who simply happen to fit a physical profile, nothing more.
DESPITE winning a court case under the Dangerous Dog Legislation, Ballymoney Borough Council is still having to pay a staggering £17,500 in costs.
On Thursday, December 11 judgement was given at Antrim Court House in relation to the case of Ballymoney Borough Council v Robert Geoffrey Boyd after three dogs were seized from the defendant in July 2006.
The magistrate found in favour of the Borou gh Council and directed that all three dogs were of the Pit Bull type.
An Order was made for the destruction of the said dogs. The defendant was fined £150 in respect of each dog. An order was also made banning him from keeping dogs for a period of 12 months.
However, during a recent Health and Environmental Services Committee meeting it has been revealed that the magistrate was unable to order costs in this case of £17,500 (to date).
Responding to questions from members, the Director advised that the costs incurred by Council, in its capacity as the relevant enforcement authority for the dangerous dogs provisions within the Borough, included both kenneling and legal fees and that as it was the policy that no budget provision be made, this expenditure would have to be met from the Council’s reserves.
He advised that in 2006 the Directorate, in response to information brought to its attention, had undertaken four investigations and that the case reported above was the third to have been brought to the stage of a conviction having been obtained.
One further case, involving a single dog, remained outstanding and the hearing was unlikely to take place before March 2009. Meanwhile it would be the Council’s responsibility to continue to kennel the dog seized. The Director again advised as to why it had been necessary to out source kenneling for the dogs being dealt with and stressed the pressures officers were working under in carrying out the Council’s enforcement role.