UK: Proposed dog law revision would eliminate breed ban

Although we usually do not publish press releases as a matter of site policy, this particular press release has a wealth of information on the current status of a proposal to eliminate the BSL in the UK, including contact information for UK residents who want to get involved in this effort.

http://www.prlog.org/10772975-tough-new-bill-to-replace-failed-dangerous-dogs-act.html

Tough New Bill To Replace ‘failed’ Dangerous Dogs Act

Animal welfare organisations, veterinary professionals and local authorities today joined forces to condemn the much-criticised Dangerous Dogs Act, demanding that it must be replaced by a hard-hitting new Dog Control Bill.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release) – Jul 04, 2010 – Animal welfare organisations, veterinary professionals and local authorities today joined forces to condemn the much-criticised Dangerous Dogs Act, demanding that it must be replaced by a hard-hitting new Dog Control Bill focusing on prevention rather than cure.

Existing legislation has failed to reduce the number of dog bite incidents in the UK, which have risen in the past five years by 79% in London and 43% nationally*. Meanwhile costs have continued to rise; it was revealed that 10 million pounds has been spent by the Metropolitan Police alone in the past 3 years simply to implement Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act, relating to the seizure, kennelling and euthanasia of banned breeds.

The Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group (DDASG) has lobbied against the inadequacies of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 for many years and members of the group are now backing a new Dog Control Bill proposed by Lib Dem peer Lord Redesdale, which will receive its second reading in the House of Lords on Friday (9th July). This Bill would consolidate previous legislation and better protect the public by targeting the cause of dog attacks – dog owners themselves.

Lord Redesdale commented: “People deserve to feel safe around dogs and this Bill goes a long way towards protecting the public through tougher action against irresponsible dog owners. The current law has done nothing but make banned breeds and their lookalikes more appealing and created the issue of status dogs because they are a status symbol.

“Owners of aggressive or violent dogs of any kind would be brought to account with this Bill, which in turn will prevent a large number of attacks by dealing with problem behaviour at the first signs of aggression rather than when an attack has taken place, as in current legislation”.

If passed, the Bill will introduce major changes to current dangerous dog legislation, which is widely considered to be one of the most ineffective pieces of government legislation ever brought into force. These changes include:

• More emphasis on the owner’s responsibilities – the Bill supports the principle that it is the owner who has the potential to make a dog either well-behaved or badly-behaved. It gives authorised officers the powers to place Dog Control Notices on irresponsible owners at the first signs of dog aggression.

• Attacks which take place on private property would also become a criminal offence – a large number of dog attack incidents occur within the home and on private property. The Bill includes various exemptions such as being attacked by another animal, provocation, and attacks on individuals committing an offence for which they could be imprisoned.

• Legislation will no longer be breed specific – since the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, public money and resources have been wasted by already overstretched police authorities seizing dogs simply for being of a particular breed or type. Research now overwhelmingly supports the principle of ‘deed not breed’, and proves that genetics (breed) play only a limited part in the temperament of an individual dog, with environment and training having a far greater effect.

The DDASG has been working closely with Lord Redesdale in support of his Dog Control Bill and has long been calling on the government to repeal the current legislation. The Group believes that the breed specific nature of current legislation has caused it to fail, and that focusing on individual breeds has failed to prevent a large number of dog attacks, or reduce the number of Pit Bull Terriers in the UK.

DDASG Chairman Chris Laurence, Veterinary Director of Dogs Trust, said: “We firmly believe that the Dangerous Dogs Act needs to be overhauled to better protect the public and that a new dog control regime that emphasises responsible dog ownership should be introduced.

“The Dog Control Bill supports the principle that it is people, not the dogs themselves that make dogs dangerous. Lord Redesdale’s Bill would allow people to be better protected from dangerous dogs with tougher action taken against irresponsible dog owners.”

The Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group has also launched a petition supporting Lord Redesdale’s Dog Control Bill which already has almost 10,000 signatures. The petition can be found at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/repeal-and-replace-the-dangerous-dogs-act.html

For more information on DDASG, Lord Redesdale’s Dog Control Bill and current ‘dangerous dog’ legislation visit http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/928

For further press information, images or interview requests please contact:

Victoria Brown, DDASG coordinator
07540 731320
020 7518 1008
victoria.brown@thekennelclub.org.uk

Notes to Editors

*Figures quoted from London Dangerous Dog Forum Evidence Base Research Paper and available on request.

The Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group

The Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group (DDASG) is a wide-ranging group representing animal welfare, local authorities and veterinary professional organisations and includes representation from:

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
Blue Cross
Mayhew Animal Home
British Veterinary Association
Dogs Trust
Kennel Club
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
Wandsworth Borough Council
Wood Green Animal Shelters

The DDASG considers that the Dangerous Dogs Act needs to be overhauled to better protect the public and that a new dog control regime which emphasises responsible dog ownership should be introduced.

6 responses to “UK: Proposed dog law revision would eliminate breed ban

  1. Regarding any efforts to remove any laws that are based solely on fear & ignorance…
    Such as Breed Specific Laws… I can only say…
    The Sooner The Better !!

    Sincerely Yours,

    Leo O’Brien

  2. I am so happy to read this!
    I pray that the new bill comes into place and that no specific breed will get the blame.

    I hope this will actually allow us own any dog or our choice and stop the people who are responsible for attacks.

  3. I agree that there is need for change in the current DDA but what concerned me about this statement was’owners of aggressive or violent dogs will be brought to account with this Bill which will in turn prevent a large number of attacks by dealing with problem behaviours at the first signs of aggression’. A very wide statement with no explanation as to what they deem bu first signs of aggression.
    The DDA had 5 breeds banned and yet lack of enforcement has meant that there have been numerous fatal attacks by pit bull types in the last 10 years.
    It just seems that they are removing the breed legislation that has never been enforced properly nor any of the DDA really.

  4. I believe the number one reason for the proliferation of incompetent and even criminal dog owners, is the failure by authorities everywhere to enforce the laws based on the responsibility of a dogs owner, and not the “shape” of the dog owned. The ‘pit bulls’, Rottweilers, German Shepherd dogs, Chows or any of the other breeds and shapes targeted by the ignorant for discrimination, are not the root of the problem.
    It is an issue which, in spite of being shamelessly overblown by a ratings-hungry media, still deserves the attention of people who are capable of looking at it objectively and coming up with solutions which are fair, effective and fiscally responsible.
    Breed specific legislation (BSL) is not breed discrimination. It is dog owner discrimination. It is the assumption that should we humans choose to own specified breeds, that we are irresponsible, negligent, and uninsurable. This discrimination is not aimed at dogs, but rather at people who own the dogs. It is unjust, unacceptable and morally wrong. Discrimination in any form is not to be tolerated.
    The railroading of citizens because of the shape of their dog is far from amusing. It creates profound emotional distress and distrust of government in the persecuted. It promotes vigilantism, mob mentality and a lack of respect for living things. It also leads to expensive lawsuits launched by those who value equal application of the law and as studies have shown, results in zero reduction in dog bites and maulings and exposes ill-informed officials to the public eye. The answer lays in education, not more unfair, unenforceable legislation. All we ask is equal protection, equal treatment under the law.

  5. Debbie Sheppard

    I think that the repsonsiblity should be placed on the Dog Owner! I have been wanting to move back to the UK where I lived when I was younger, and it has stopped me wanting to due that I am a Pitbull owner. My dog is sweet as can be. There are many dog attacks annually but just because they are certain breeds the media attack and make it bigger than it is. Chihuahuas attack and bite more than a Pitbull but its all up to perspective I guess. I hope that the ban is lifted so my family and I can move to the UK.

    Thank you for your time

  6. tomas gilgunn

    i welcome the new law pity irelands laws 10 years behind
    i got stopped the other day after 6 hassle free years of walking my dogs in this town
    no mention of any appealing or anything like that is there ?
    any bitter person could say my dogs attacked them just because i use e-collars

    im going to bring a spool of thread with me the next time im told by the man
    to put leads on the dogs
    their are so many people with serious attitude problems
    tomas