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Dog Welfare Code causes concern among shooting organisations

DEFRA?s controversial Dog Welfare Code is likely to be issued during 2009 under the terms of section 14 of the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.

However, the NGO has said the code?s draft wording could mean dog owners unwittingly find themselves in court.

An NGO spokesman commented: ?There is a great deal of work to be done before this draft code can be considered fit for ratification. Were it just informal guidance to dog owners, many of our criticisms would be less important, but as the code is specifically designed to help the courts interpret the law, it has to be right. Gamekeepers and other dog owners need to be confident that they will not face prosecution or unfair treatment by the courts because of unfortunate wording in this code.?

DEFRA launched a consultation into the code?s content on 4 November.

The code aims to provide practical guidance to dog owners on how to meet their
statutory responsibilities.