Blue Cross says the government showed they supported Section One of the Dangerous Dogs Act despite evidence from charities and police saying it was ineffective. Section One outlaws four types of dog based on their physical appearance alone and does not take the animal’s behaviour into account.
At today’s evidence hearing the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) civil servant Marc Casale said it was unwilling to consider a repeal of Section One. Casale stated that Pitbull Terriers are inherently dangerous and can lock their jaws, which Blue Cross considers to have no scientific basis.
During the hearing animal rescue charities asked DEFRA if they could rehome dogs who have displayed no aggressive behaviour, their plea was dismissed by the government department. Casale was asked if whether dogs like these should be considered acceptable ‘collateral damage’ of the Dangerous Dogs Act, the minister responded “yes”.
Police chiefs had previously said they were happy for the Dangerous Dogs Act “to be looked at again”, while Mark Berry a member of local government had said evidence “shows breed specification doesn’t work”.
Becky Thwaites, head of public affairs said “Blue Cross is extremely disappointed at the evidence presented today from DEFRA. A wealth of scientific evidence has been put forward to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of this law and the number of innocent dogs who are losing their lives. In the face of this, representatives seem happy to stick to the mantra about some breeds being inherently dangerous; something which is simply not true.
“We would welcome a more concise piece of Dangerous Dogs legislation which would be easier to enforce and allow them to concentrate on the deed of the dog rather than the breed. This would help them to focus on securing swifter prosecutions of irresponsible dog owners and ensure a consistent approach by police forces, local authorities and courts across the country.
“We know there is a postcode lottery when it comes to how dogs suspected of being Section One are treated across the country by police forces and local authorities who are under-funded and may lack the necessary resources and knowledge to properly enforce the current law. This means many innocent dogs suffer because of a lack of understanding of the haphazard and over complicated legislation.
“No dog can be classed as dangerous simply based on how they look. Breed specific legislation is failing to protect the public and leading to thousands of innocent dogs being put to sleep or kenneled unnecessarily while dog attacks continue to rise.”