- A new Private Members Bill, ‘Emilie’s Law’ led by Anna Firth MP will criminalise fatal dog-on-dog attacks in the UK
- Currently owners are not held responsible under the law when their dog fatally attacks another dog, meanwhile the frequency of dog attacks has increased 700% in five years, to 11,559 in 2021
- The First Reading of ‘Emilie’s Law’ will be on Wednesday 23rd May
London, 10th May 2023
Today (Wednesday 10th May) Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) Patron Anna Firth MP has launched her new Private Members Bill, the Animal Welfare (Responsibility for Dog Attacks) Bill.
The new legislation will address a key gap in the law which currently states that a dog owner is not liable for any form of prosecution when their dog fatally attacks another dog. The only exemptions are if the injured pet is an assistance or a service dog, or unless another human is injured or attacked or seen to be at risk.
In the five years between 2016 and 2021 there was a 700% increase in dog-on-dog attacks, rising to 11,559 from just 1,700.
The Bill is informally named ‘Emilie’s Law’ after Anna Firth MP’s constituent Michael’s bichon frise who lost her life to a dog attack in 2021 at a park in Leigh-on-Sea. It will criminalise fatal dog-on-dog attacks in the UK, ensuring that irresponsible dog owners are held to account.
Emilie’s Law will have its First Reading in the House of Commons led by Anna Firth MP on Wednesday 23rd May.
Anna Firth MP, Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron, commented: “I am delighted to launch Emilie’s Law today in memory of my constituent Michael’s beautiful bichon frise dog who was tragically killed in a dog attack in 2021. It is frankly scandalous that irresponsible dog owners are currently able to shirk all responsibility when their dog fatally attacks another, creating untold distress and harm to the deceased dog’s owner and wider family.
“Of course, not all dogs are dangerous and not all dog owners are irresponsible, but it is crucial we have accountability under the law so that in instances such as Michael’s, justice can be pursued. I look forward to leading this Bill for its First Reading on 23rd May and hope this gap in our legal system can be successfully addressed.”
Mark Francois MP, sponsor of Emilie’s Law, commented: “I am pleased to give my wholehearted support to this Bill led by Anna Firth MP who is heroically continuing the legacy of Sir David Amess and his unwavering commitment to advancing animal welfare. Dogs are man’s best friend, yet when they are killed by another dog there is currently no recourse for owners under the law.”
Henry Smith MP, Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron and sponsor of Emilie’s Law, commented: “Emilie’s Law is about justice for the many dogs who lose their lives each year at the hands of irresponsible dog owners with no legal consequence. Dog attacks are on the rise and clearly something must be done to ensure owners are held accountable when their dog fatally attacks another. I am proud to be a sponsor of this Bill today and look forward to support its passage through the House of Commons.”
Lorraine Platt, Co-Founder of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, commented: “Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation is delighted to support the launch of Emilie’s Law today led by our Patron Anna Firth MP. Pet dogs provide loving companionship for millions across the UK, yet there is no law to enforce justice when a dog is fatally attacked by another. We hope Emilie’s Law will incentivise responsible dog ownership and help to prevent such devastating attacks in the future.”
About Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF)
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation was established in 2016 to raise awareness on the lives of billions of animals reared on intensive farms around the world and how this impact upon animal welfare, the environment and people’s health. We want to highlight the action people can take to help advance farm animal welfare.
Animal welfare is an increasing concern amongst the public, who frequently look to Government to take the lead in both maintaining and improving standards.
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation believes it is highly important that the welfare of farm animals is placed at the forefront of the Governments plan for food and farming along with its focus on productivity, competitiveness, and technology.
Media contact: Sophia Stileman (firstname.lastname@example.org)