Naomi Long MLA said: “This motion will give MLAs the chance to commit to strengthening these laws to eradicate loopholes and increase safety.
“Currently, for example, whilst dog attacks on livestock are a criminal matter, dog attacks on other pets are not treated in the same way, yet the aggressive behaviour should still be a serious concern.
“A number of serious “dog on dog” attacks have taken place in public areas where children for example could be put at risk. We need to examine levels of control that dogs are kept under while in public places.
“More attention must be given to the behaviour of dogs and their owners rather than simply banned types of dogs because trouble can often emanate from dogs that do not fall within the currently banned breeds, but which are permitted or even encouraged by owners to exhibit aggressive behaviour. The issue of people who cross-breed illegal breeds and those who import dangerous dogs, often for dog fighting, also needs to be addressed and for this tougher legislation and clearer guidance regarding its implementation are required.
“I have been campaigning for many years to have these laws strengthened but the NIO failed to act. We now have a devolved administration which can take action and ensure that public safety and animal welfare concerns are adequately addressed.”