GOVERNMENT plans to tackle irresponsible dog ownership have been hailed by a North-East MP.

James Wharton, MP for Stockton South, welcomed proposals to introduce compulsory micro-chipping and new powers to help tackle dog-related anti-social behaviour.

Mr Wharton commented on the plans, which were outlined earlier this week by environment secretary Owen Paterson, saying: “The vast majority of dog owners are responsible and caring but occasionally this is not the case.

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"Dogs that are not properly trained can be a danger to the public and to other dog owners...These measures will protect vulnerable people, responsible dog owners and the general public.”

A North-East woman whose guide dog was attacked by another dog also welcomed the changes.

Linda Oliver, from Middlesbrough, said: “Zoe had to be treated at the vet’s, she was very subdued and withdrawn for days. This left me housebound, as she was unable to work. It took some time before we recovered enough to have the confidence to venture out again.”

The chief executive of the Guide Dogs charity – who have campaigned since 2010 for compulsory micro-chipping - said that eight guide dogs were attacked every month by other dogs.

Richard Leaman said: “We are delighted that the Government has listened to Guide Dogs’ call for compulsory micro-chipping. This is a vital first step to protecting guide dog owners’ freedom.”