A number of animal charities have welcomed the news that the government is to make microchipping compulsory, but say more should have been done to tackle irresponsible dog ownership.
The Blue Cross, the Kennel Club and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home all say that the government has not gone far enough to protect the public.
Battersea said that this announcement means that any real improvements to dog control laws could now be put off until 2013 at the earliest.
Claire Horton, Battersea's chief executive, said: "This is a wasted opportunity by the government ... It's clear that the current dog legislation does not work and today's consultation proposals give us little hope of any meaningful change for the thousands of stray dogs wandering our streets.
"We question how much a priority tackling irresponsible ownership and improving public safety is for the government."
Steve Goody, director of external affairs at Blue Cross, added that the government should consider the advice of animal welfare organisations to make sure changes make a difference.
He said that police should have greater discretion in allowing banned breeds to stay in their homes if they are clearly not dangerous.