Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has called on the Government to review the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act in light of new research released today.
The new report, What’s Breed Got To Do With It?, marks the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the 1991 Act, which outlawed four breeds of dogs from the UK; the Pit Bull Terrier, the Dogo Argentino, the Japanese Tosa and the Fila Braziliero.
Battersea and many other animal welfare organisations have long opposed Section 1 of the 1991 Act that judges a dog on its looks not its behaviour, and can see them destroyed if deemed by the police to be a banned breed.
According to Battersea, there is also little evidence that the Act has reduced dog attacks or been successful in eradicating the pit bull terrier in the UK.
Last year Battersea took in 91 pit bull terrier types, confirming the breeding and sale of these animals is still going on and has simply been pushed underground.
The charity has published photos of 25 of the 91 pit bull terriers its had to put to sleep in the past year purely for their looks alone.
Claire Horton, Battersea’s chief executive, said: “This new research by Battersea sets out the failings of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in focusing on how a dog looks, rather than on anything that they have done or the actions of their owners.
“There are of course some dangerous dogs on our streets but for a quarter of a century this legislation has condemned too many innocent dogs to be put to sleep, whilst systematically failing to reduce dog attacks in our communities.
“Battersea is dismayed that this outdated, knee-jerk piece of legislation is still on the statute books. There is a clear need to replace it with a law that targets irresponsible owners.”