Why Breed Specific Legislation must go – no half measures.
Breed specific legislation is alive and well within the U.K. Section one of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes four breed types illegal. In Northern Ireland a dog deemed to be a banned breed is killed, regardless of how good a temperament it may have. In England, Scotland and Wales a dog deemed a banned breed has two options, it can die or it can be allowed to live provided its owner abides by a number of restrictions.
Today Defra announced a consultation on a range of ideas to tackle the issue of “dangerous dogs” and they include the potential repeal of BSL.
What this potentially means is simple. The current banned breeds will become legal again. They will be allowed to live out their lives, be rehomed and no longer be targeted for the way they look. They will be treated the same as any other dog. If they appear to be dangerous then action could be taken, they will not be “above the law”.
In order to make any change to the DDA there has to be a change of law. If we are too see any change of law it should be one that stops dogs being targeted due to their appearance. 13 years ago the law was changed to allow dogs deemed banned breeds to live according to the restrictions and most though that was a step forward. But innocent dogs are still dying. A registered dog cannot be rehomed. If an owner of registered dog cannot keep that dog, that dog will die. People may lose their job, their home, become ill and that dog will die if that owner can no longer keep the dog.
Many tenancies will not allow banned breeds, even registered ones, to be in their properties. Owners may not be able to find alternative accommodation and those dogs will then die.
A suggestion has been put forward to allow for owner led registration of banned breeds. I once would have agreed with this but cannot anymore.
I see many good people with good dogs be accused of owning a pit bull type. A pit bull type dog is any dog deemed to have a substantial number of characteristics of an outdated breed standard that’s no longer used for that breed. Many of the people I speak with want to argue that their dog is not a pit bull type, but they don’t because they want it over quickly.
If owner led registration comes in only those who know they have a type dog will go forward. The MAJORITY who have no idea or firmly feel their dog is not a banned type will not. So the authorities will still come for the dogs and then an owner has two choices…agree that their dog is a banned type and agree to the long restrictions, all the while hoping they can keep their dog for life as otherwise the dog will die; or having their dog seized and taken section one. Don’t kid ourselves that with owner led registration the option to seize will go..it wont.
Puppies born to parents that one or both are deemed type, will not be able to go into homes and they too will die.
If ownerled registration is the next step please remember that on March 9th 2010 we first warned that other breeds would faolow. When the stafford, the mastiff, the american bulldog all get added and resticted, remember that we warned this would happen.
So please, when you are looking at what should be done about BSL and the DDA, please don’t accept half measures. For the dogs sake.
We must have a full repeal.