UK: Bill to repeal breed-specific law moves to next House

In the UK, the Dangerous Dog Act of 1991 bans four breeds of dogs: “Pit bulls,” Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Braziliero. Lord Redesdale has introduced a private members’ bill, Dog Control Bill [HL] 2010-11, that would replace the DDA. Lord Redesdale’s bill is breed-neutral.

The bill has been moving slowly through the necessary stages; it has just successfully cleared the House of Lords and is now in the House of Commons.

The bill may be tracked here: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/dogcontrolhl.html

Private members’ bills evidently rarely become law. Rather, such bills serve as a “test,” with the hope that the government will be inspired to take up and pass a similar bill. Although Lord Redesdale’s private member’s bill has come a long way and has considerable support from major animal organizations, the government does not support Lord Redesdale’s bill. The government appears to be making plans of its own.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): […] I hope that I can reassure all noble Lords that I understand their concerns about dog control. However, the Government cannot support this Bill. My noble friend Lord Henley had been working on a comprehensive package of measures to deal with dangerous dogs and irresponsible dog ownership. I continue to carry on his good work, including meetings with key stakeholders, and I hope to announce this package shortly.

The government has been extremely reluctant to repeal the breed-specific portion of the DDA, and rumor has it that the government’s proposal will change the DDA without repealing the BSL. However, it remains to be seen what will happen with Lord Redesdale’s bill now that it has reached the House of Commons.

The Kennel Club (UK) has further information and a link to a petition: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/cgi-bin/item.cgi?ap=1&id=4018

I encourage UK residents to reach out to their national lawmakers and the government to show support for Lord Redesdale’s Dog Control Bill [HL] 2010-11—in particular, the portion of the bill that removes the breed discriminatory language.

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