The government has agreed with a petition not to add Staffordshire Bull Terriers to the Dangerous Dogs Act’s list of banned breeds.
The decision was made during a parliamentary debate, sparked by a petition signed by over 163,000 people. The petition was in response to a a submission made by PETA to the ongoing inquiry on dangerous dogs by the EFRA Committee.
On the day of the debate, organisations from the pet, veterinary and animal welfare trade all urged the government not to prohibit the ownership of the breed.
MPs argued that the government should place the blame on irresponsible owners rather than judging a dog’s behaviour by its breed. It was also pointed out that a number of dogs, even those with good temperaments, were taking to rescues centres and eventually put down by members of the police force, after they were suspected to be part Pit Bull Terrier, a prohibited breed.
Conservative MP Neil Parish said: “I believe that any animal that is vicious and cannot be put right should be put down, but not a dog of really good temperament. Deciding whether a dog has pit bull terrier in it is not an exact science: measurements are made of the length of its nose and its conformation.”
He also said that each police officer judged each dog differently, so some dogs were put down as they were judged to be “potentially dangerous” where others might not be considered so. He added that dogs should “not be given a death sentence just because they are of a certain breed”.
The minister for agriculture, fisheries and food, George Eustice MP, said that more needed to be done to ensure dogs were properly socialised, regardless of breed.
Eustice said: “The government have no plans at all to add the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to the prohibited list. We have been clear about that in response to the e-petition. We have trained police officers who are skilled in identifying the breed and type of dogs, in particular the pit bull terrier, which is the main banned breed that we are concerned with.