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Letters To Your Member of Parliament Needed:

DDAWThe EFRA Committee have published their Report - Dangerous Dogs legislation fails to protect the public while harming animal welfare - the EFRA Report is calling for a full-scale review of current dog control legislation and policy to better protect the public and now is a good time to write to your own Member of Parliament (MP) to give your opinion and help keep the pressure up!

Letters don’t have to be complicated, it can be short or lengthy, the main point is that you do contact your MP and let them know this issue is important to you.

Tell your MP you support a repeal of breed specific legislation, as contained within section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act introduced in 1991 and until it is repealed, support urgent changes to the legislation which include that any dog deemed a banned ‘type’ which can no longer stay with its owner, for any reason, including dogs in rescue and stray dogs, can be responsibly re-homed for any reason-this is currently not the case and friendly healthy dogs are dying.

DEFRA have referred to these innocent dogs as ‘collateral damage’ – this is appalling and is not acceptable in civilised society.

DEFRA’s evidence is not only shameful; it is incorrect and not based on fact.

Further points you could include in your letter:

Breed Specific Legislation is not based on any scientific evidence and is not fit for purpose. Thousands of pets continue to be put to death or deemed ‘dangerous’ based on how they look, the law is not protecting the public, it is not reducing dog bite incidents, it is causing and creating problems and is long overdue for urgent repeal.

The transfer of keepership for an exempted dog should not be limited and should be possible for any reason. The 30 days rule applying to exempted dogs should be withdrawn, DEFRA can be kept informed if necessary.

The EFRA committee have received heart-breaking evidence from organisations that say friendly dogs deemed ‘type’ are dying because they cannot be rehomed due to the severe legislation. On this issue, Inspector O’Hara, Status Dog Unit, Met Police, told the inquiry: “On a point of principle, we would go by the view, nice dog, nice person, no problem. We would be reasonably happy, with some degree of relaxation, about whether a home could be found for that particular dog that did not cause us a problem.”

The EFRA Committee have heard overwhelming evidence in support of the repeal of breed specific legislation, including evidence from national charities and organisations.

  • The Blue Cross are supporting a complete repeal of all aspects of breed specific legislation and over 60,000 people have signed a Blue Cross petition to end BSL. Whilst the Blue Cross believes that the only viable option is a complete repeal of Breed Specific legislation and the introduction of a new piece of preventative, evidence based consolidated legislation, they recognise that this is likely to take time. There are a number of interim measures which they believe will help deal with some of the welfare concerns highlighted and feel it is essential that DEFRA look to introduce these at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • The Dogs Trust does not support BSL and would like to see preventative legislation on dog control which is breed neutral.
  • Battersea Dogs and Cats Home believe that BSL should be repealed and their evidence states it has been proven to be ineffective at reducing incidence of dog attacks, and it is arbitrary and unfair, and it is not based on scientific fact.
  • The British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association have both made it clear that they do not support breed specific legislation.
  • The RSPCA believe BSL should be repealed and told the government inquiry that BSL is ineffective in protecting public safety and results in the suffering and euthanasia of many dogs. More than 67,000 people have signed their petition calling on the Government to finally end BSL.
  • The Kennel Club believes Government should act to 'deal with the deed, not the breed' and that it is unacceptable to ban an entire breed or type of dog based on the actions of a single animal.
  • Guide Dogs do not support breed-specific legislation and believe the emphasis should be on education and addressing irresponsible dog ownership.
  • The PDSA opinion is that all organisations need to be aware that it is ‘deed not breed’ that is important in determining the cause of aggressiveness in dogs and that any dog has the potential to be aggressive.
  • Steve O’Connell, London Assembly Member and Chair of the London Police and Crime Committee recommend that the EFRA committee explore alternative options to the Dangerous Dogs Act that shift the focus to responsible ownership.
  • Animal Behaviour Cognition and Welfare Group of the University of Lincoln. The Group is one of the largest research groups working on companion animal behaviour problems in the world and includes both clinicians working with problem animal behaviour (including aggressive dogs) and a range of life scientists, including geneticists who are actively working in this field. It is their opinion that such legislation cannot be supported on both scientific and ethical grounds.
  • Wood Green the Animals Charity have stated that the welfare of many dogs has been compromised as a result of this law with thousands euthanised unnecessarily. There is a lack of scientific evidence to support a breed specific approach to protecting public safety and significant evidence against it and Wood Green would like to see the updating, consolidating and, where necessary, the replacement of existing legislation with preventative legislation on dog control which is breed neutral.
  • The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare is an independent scientific and educational animal welfare charity, established in 1926, they have told the committee that current breed specific legislation does not address the causes of dog bites or protect the public and new legislation based on risk and on the individual behaviour of a dog should replace it.
  • The Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seriously recommends abolishing breed specific legislation and replacing it with workable legislation that protects the public and responsible dog owners. The Scottish SPCA firmly believes that no dog can be classed as dangerous simply due to its breed or type specification.
  • The Communications Union (CWU) made it clear that they do not support BSL and that it is the owner that is the problem adding “the problem is on the other end of the lead”. The CWU found in its research, that postal workers are attacked by any breed of dog and that the idea of BSL is unhelpful and in fact detraction from the real issue.
  • Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard, lead for dangerous dogs at the National Police Chiefs Council, told the inquiry he was happy for the Dangerous Dogs Act “to be looked at again” and Mark Berry, representing local government, said the evidence quite clearly shows that a ban does not work.
  • Winchester City Council has said Section 1 needs to go and legislation should be based on ‘deed not breed’.
  • The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors supports the repeal of BSL due to lack of effectiveness and welfare issues.
  • The Mayhew Animal Welfare Charity doesn’t agree with BSL and has said that the legislation needs to be replaced immediately, with the aim of implementing a new framework that addresses responsible dog ownership across the board, at the point of prevention rather than dealing with the aftermath.

For further information please contact DDA Watch.

Our written evidence to the EFRA Committee Inquiry (2018) is published and can be found online on the parliament website: https://bit.ly/2Kdt2ez

All inquiry submissions, oral hearings and updates can be found online here - https://bit.ly/2jMOPuK

Blue Cross Campaign: ‘If looks couldn’t kill’ - https://www.bluecross.org.uk/if-looks-couldnt-kill

Battersea Report: ‘What’s breed got to do with it? -

RSPCA Campaign

Two years ago, the EFRA Committee held a Parliamentary Inquiry into Animal Welfare (domestic pets).

The details of that Inquiry and the written evidence they received from DDA Watch which detailed our concerns regarding the welfare of dogs affected by the Dangerous Dogs Act, can be found on the Parliament website here:

Find your local MP's contact details

DDA Watch Ltd is a not-for-profit company, registered in England & Wales, registration number 7393352.

Care has been taken to ensure that our information is correct. The information and advice given by DDA Watch is for general purposes and is intended for guidance only, it does not constitute legal advice. The information and opinions expressed should not be relied on or used as a substitute for legal advice, if you require details concerning your rights, legal advice or find yourself affected by legislation it is recommended that you seek professional legal advice. 

Information given is for England and Wales only. Legislation in Scotland and N.Ireland may differ.

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