More than 50,000 people have backed a campaign to end the controversial legislation that bans four types of dog breeds within the UK.
In August the RSPCA launched the campaign which calls for the Government to hold a public inquiry into section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA), which uses breed specific legislation (BSL) to ban pit bull terriers, Japanese tosas, fila Brazilieros, and dogo Argentinos.
Just four months since the launch, animal groups, vets and individuals from around the world have come out in force to support the petition, with over 52,000 signatures so far.
The #EndBSL campaign is trying to raise awareness of thousands of dogs whose welfare is compromised due to the law.
Dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines – lead author of our report ‘Breed Specific Legislation: A Dog’s Dinner’ – said:
“We believe BSL should be repealed and issues surrounding human safety tackled using education and effective legislative measures that do not unnecessarily compromise dog welfare.
“Since publishing our report and launching our campaign we’ve received support from around the world, not only from members of the public, dog lovers and people who have experienced the devastating effects of BSL first-hand, but also from other UK and international organisations, charities and bodies.”
The need to repeal BSL has already been backed by more than 30 organisations around the world, from countries as far-flung as Australia, Japan and USA, including:
- Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC)
- Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC)
- British Veterinary Behaviour Association (BVBA)
- British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA)
- Deed Not Breed
- DDA Watch
- Dogs Trust
- Dutch Veterinary Behaviour Group
- EU Dog & Cat Alliance
- Eurogroup for Animals
- European Society for Clinical Veterinary Ethology (ESCVE)
- The International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants (IAABC)
- The Kennel Club
- Massachusetts SPCA (MSPCA)
- People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA)
- RSPCA Australia
Renowned experts including Dr Emily Blackwell and Dr Emma Milne are also in support, as well as behaviourists Sarah Fisher – and her actor partner, Anthony Head – and Victoria Stilwell.
Dr Milne said: “The Dangerous Dogs Act, that came into force in 1991, was and remains one of the most pointless laws we’ve ever had. The fact is that dogs’ behaviour is dictated by so many factors beyond their breed.
“If we had used the last 20 odd years using the law to make people better dog owners it would have been a much better use of the law.
“The whole thing has been a mess for far too long and the time has come for the law to be repealed and for the politicians to try and do something constructive to improve the lives of dogs and reduce bite injuries.”
Dr Valerie Jonckheer-Sheehy, chair of the Dutch Veterinary Behaviour Group, said: “Breed specific legislation will not resolve dog bite incidents.
“The focus must be on educating the public on dog behaviour and welfare, and ensuring that dog breeders breed healthy animals who are able to cope with the mental demands that they may be challenged within their day-to-day life.”
In December the London Assembly unanimously agreed to support a motion for the Mayor of the city to write to the Secretary for State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs officially requesting an inquiry into the law.