On 24th July 2010 Not Guilty! a Vigil for Victims of Breed Specific Legislation took place at Richmond Terrace London. With more than 150 attendees the call for repeal was heard across the nation as the BBC, ITV and Channel four news all broadcast our appeal.
As far as we know "our side" has not been broadcast in this way since the last time the Dangerous dogs act was amended in 1997 when mandatory destruction of dogs deemed "type" was removed.
The Vigil itself was an emotional rollcoaster. Many attending had been directly affected by the Act and had come from as far afield as Liverpool and Bradford to spend a few moments reflecting on how their lives had been turned upside down. Others approached with tales of their dogs, currently incarcerated having committed no crime other than in their appearance.
Passers by came up in their hundreds taking leaflets and contact details, many shocked at the stories avaliable to read on the railings. Such was the demand for leaflets that the 1000 we had ran out well before the vigil ended.
At 5pm members of DDAWatch and owner Sarah Anderson were escorted to 10 Downing street where hundreds of letters demanding repeal from members of the public were handed over. As the vigil continued more letters arrived. These will all be sent to the Prime Minister this week.
Actor and singer Jon lee attended and was duitfully kissed by Karma a young American Bulldog who had been held for 18 months before being found not guilty. Karma was cuddled by adults and children before lying down in the middle of the crowd for a sleep! A wonderful example of why this law must be repealed.
At 6pm the vigil itself took place as Alison Green read from the handwritten scroll and flowers were laid in memory of those dogs no longer with us. Tears fell among those gathered as the names continued to be read out.
The Vigil comes just a few weeks away from the 19th anniversary of the Dangerous Dogs Act coming into force. There are louder calls for repeal now than ever before and the potential that in a years time this fight will no longer be needed. But until then we will continue to fight.
Next year will be the 20th anniversary and we WILL be back if any form of Breed Specific Legislation still exists in U.K. law. We hope you will join us.