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New report highlights problems with Dangerous Dogs Act

A new report from the RSPCA has exposed the flaws and ‘ineffectiveness’ of the breed specific law.

The report, Breed Specific Legislation: A Dog’s Dinner, highlights that the RSPCA believes “Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) has failed to meet its goals of improving public safety by reducing the number of dog bites and eliminating dogs that are prohibited. More dog bites are reported now than ever before and the numbers of prohibited dogs continue to rise.

In the UK, an assessment in 1996 – five years after the DDA was enacted – found there had been no significant reduction. In fact, the number of hospital admissions due to dog bites rose from 4,110 (March 2005) to 7,227 (February 2015)  and continue to rise.

Breed Specific Legislation: A Dog’s Dinner, shows a number of cases from other countries, including Canada, where a reduction in dog bites has been achieved.

This was not by BSL, but by focusing on improving responsible dog ownership.

Dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “The police, the RSPCA and other animal rescue organisations have to deal with the consequences of this flawed law by euthanising hundreds of dogs because legislation is forcing us to due to the way they look, despite being suitable for rehoming.

“Not only is this a huge ethical and welfare issue, it also places significant emotional strain on staff.

“It is the view of the RSPCA, and the public, that every animal’s life matters. We conclude that breed specific legislation has not achieved its objectives whilst causing unintended harms – a new approach is required.

“We believe it is paramount for the government to launch an inquiry into the effectiveness of BSL, assess other options to improve human safety and dog welfare, and ultimately repeal the breed specific part of the legislation.”

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