Vets join fight to save banned dogs from ‘death sentence’
Six of the UK’s leading dog welfare and veterinary groups have joined forces to fight legislation that gives dogs a ‘death sentence’ due to the way they look.
Battersea, Blue Cross, British Veterinary Association (BVA), Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club and the RSPCA are lobbying for changes to Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act, which applies breed specific legislation (BSL) prohibiting the keeping of four types of dogs.
BVA Senior Vice President Daniella Dos Santos, below, said: “The veterinary profession has long campaigned for a total overhaul of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act because it targets specific breeds rather than deeds and gives a false impression that dogs not on the banned list are ‘safe’.
“All the latest evidence supports our view that breed specific legislation has been ineffective in its intended aims, thereby failing to either properly protect the public or safeguard dog welfare over the last three decades. As the Dangerous Dogs Act completes 30 years, we continue to call on the Government to enact robust, fit-for-purpose legislation that effectively tackles individual acts of aggression and irresponsible ownership, rather than banning entire breeds.”
Echoing those sentiments, RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood added: “It’s been 30 years since the Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced on 12 August 1991. It was brought in to keep the public safe following a number of tragic incidents involving dogs but was never well thought-out or based on scientific evidence.
“Since then, thousands of innocent dogs have lost their lives simply because they happen to look a certain way and not because of their temperament or behaviour.
“Hospital admissions due to dog bites have increased dramatically in that time which means the legislation has failed, not only to protect dog welfare, but also to keep people safe.”
Despite the RSPCA’s #EndBSL campaign helping prompt a parliamentary which said a change in the law would be desirable and achievable, the Government remains committed to its view that four types of dogs are more dangerous than others.
While the legislation does not apply in Northern Ireland, which is governed by The Dangerous Dogs (NI) Order 1991, the same four breeds are banned as in the rest of the UK.
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