The UK’s Dangerous Dogs Act is under fire again for what some regard as its unscientific and inflexible application to a rising number of dog attacks.
Born Innocent, a charity which is trying to force a change to the law has recently launched a petition to parliament calling for an all-out reform. It suggests that the Act is too simplistic and does not take into account injuries caused by dogs not listed in its legislation. Its petition states that, ‘92% of dogs seized by the met status dogs unit were not involved in any incident’.
The charity’s voice is echoed by some animal welfare groups and MPs worried that ‘innocent’ dogs are being destroyed or forcibly kennelled just because they belong to one of the four dog breeds especially mentioned by the Act.
Neil Parish, Chairman of a recent Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said: ‘Existing laws and the breed ban have not stemmed the rising tide of injuries and deaths from dog attacks. This is unacceptable. Our evidence was clear that the law is riddled with inconsistencies, harms animal welfare unnecessarily, and offers false reassurances to policymakers and the general public.’
However, it would seem as though an immediate change in the law is at the moment unlikely. In response to the petition a government spokesperson replied: ‘The Government does not consider that removing the prohibition on certain types of dogs would increase public safety or go anyway to reducing the number of dog attacks.’
The Dangerous Dog Act states that it is an offence for any dog to be out of control in a public place and the law does not just apply to those dogs listed.
The debate continues.