DDA Watch Exempted Dog Campaign:
We need you to contact your Member of Parliament (MP), Defra and anyone else you can reach, in order to lobby and raise awareness, to oppose a piece of secondary legislation which is due to commence on the 3rd March and still can be revoked or amended. The changes we are deeply concerned with will cause the deaths of countless dogs and this is why your voice is needed.
What is it?
It’s called a ‘Statutory Instrument’ (S.I) – it’s a piece of secondary legislation which amends the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (DDA) – the breed specific part.
The ‘Statutory Instrument is called – the Dangerous Dogs Exemption Schemes (England and Wales) Order 2015 No.138 and it, along with the explanatory notes can be found online here:
When did it happen?
This S.I was made on the 4th February this year and laid before parliament by Lord De Mauley this week on the 10th and before the Lords on the 11th February.
There was no public consultation or debate that we can find-indeed this type of secondary legislation isn’t required to be publicly debated prior to introduction.
Who does it affect?
It impacts on dogs subject to BSL-section 1 of the DDA. The alterations will be affecting those with dogs registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs and those whose dogs are subject to section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) 1991, as amended.
Our comprehensive guide and our own thoughts on the Order from what we have so far examined can be read here:
What is the issue?
Exempted Dogs - Currently, the person registered as the owner of an exempted dog can nominate someone else to be the agreed registered keeper of the dog, if they themselves can no longer care and take charge of their dog, for ANY reason and this is being changed and the changes will be a death sentence to dogs who are affected.
The exempted dog, which has been found by a court of law, not to present a danger to public safety, can have a separate registered owner and keeper, the registered owner remains the same for the lifetime of the dog.
The application paperwork is provided by the Index of Exempted Dogs and completed; there is no court action to complete the process. The new keeper must abide by all the rules and regulations attached to the exemption scheme which includes taking out their own 3rd party liability insurance cover.
If the registered keeper can no longer care for the dog, the dog is returned to the registered owner, who can appoint another keeper. The keeper’s accommodation is checked for suitability by the police or Defra.
The changes will mean that the transfer of keepership will ONLY be possible via an application to the magistrates’ court within time limits specified and a person can ONLY be substituted as the named person on the exemption certificate if the person in charge of the dog is either dead or seriously ill.
In addition, an exempted dog will be unable to be kept at a different address to whom the certificate is issued to, for longer than 30 days over a year; anyone for example who is regularly working away from home, visiting family, undergoing medical treatment/hospitalisation, travelling/working overseas, could be affected and their dog destroyed.
How can it be changed?
There are parliamentary procedures relating to Statutory Instruments (this type of S.I is classed as a negative resolution).
A S.I may be amended or revoked by the authority that made it and also by statute.
When a S.I is made, it is then laid at Parliament, after this process it can be subject to revocation if a resolution for annulment is passed within 40 days – it can be revoked if either House passes a resolution annulling within the time limit.
In plain English – There are powers to revoke, amend or re-enact a S.I which is a piece of law and can be cancelled/overturned within 40 days of it being ‘laid at parliament’ and there is a certain way this must be attempted which involves your MP.
It is also possible that another S.I can be introduced to bring about an amendment(s); a further S.I can also be made and laid at Parliament, bringing about a further change to the existing position.
A S.I can also be struck down by the courts, if found to be ‘beyond their powers’ powers which are given in the parent Act (in this case the DDA) i.e., if the SI is an unreasonable use of powers given by the parent Act (the piece of law it is attached to).
The process happens in Parliament and involves politicians – who are likely not to know about it, unless you contact them and tell them, even then they may not agree or may not care, but we have to try, its part of a process of lobbying for change and creating awareness of the issues surrounding BSL and its implementation.
There has to be a motion to annul, this is made by a politician and is known as a ‘prayer’ and uses the wording;
“That an humble address be presented to Her Majesty praying that the Dangerous Dogs Exemption Schemes (England and Wales) Order 2015 be annulled.”
From what we understand, any member of either House (Commons or Lords) can put down a motion that a S.I should be annulled, within a time limit. (The motion would need to be supported and signed by a number of members in order for it to be passed.)
A resolution to annul a S.I – if passed – will be revoked by the Queen.
What to do now?
We need MP’s to take up the cause for change and the first step is to request an MP to put forward the motion-the ‘prayer’ and then other MP’s are needed to support and pass the motion.
You need to contact your own MP and draw their attention to the S.I – tell them what you feel about it, how it will affect innocent dogs and their families and ask them to support change, ask them what their views are, what they intend to do about it, whether they will put forward a motion and support one.
Whether they will press for change via a further S.I if this one is not revoked.
Remind them that this issue is important to you and you can also tell them that this will affect how you will be VOTING in the general election this May.
How and where?
1) Find out who your MP and other elected representatives are, write to them, send a message or find their contact details here by entering your postcode:
2) Write and send your letters to:
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
You can also make an appointment to see your MP in person.
Email, tweet and send a FB message to your MP #mydogvotes #defra #cryforkeepership #endbsl
Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP - Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
DEFRA, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR
Is Elizabeth Truss your MP? Find out here if you are in Norfolk - http://www.elizabethtruss.com/
Find Elizabeth Truss on twitter: @trussliz
The Lord De Mauley - Parliamentary Under-Secretary:
DEFRA, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR
Or the House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW
Via Twitter: @DefraGovUK
Dan Rogerson MP - Parliamentary Under-Secretary:
DEFRA, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR
Is Dan Rogerson your MP? Find out here if you are in north Cornwall - http://www.danrogerson.org/
3) Spread the word on social networking sites e.g. Twitter and Facebook
4) Contact the larger animal welfare and canine organisations and ask them for their views, for support and to campaign for change:
The Dogs Trust
The RSPCA HQ
The Blue Cross
The RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons)
The Kennel Club
5) Please sign and share our online petition to revoke or amend S.I 2015 No.138 -
Key Points to consider in your letters/emails:
Dogs which are found to be a prohibited ‘type’ can be ordered by the court to be added to the Index of Exempted Dogs (run by Defra) and once certain conditions, as laid out in law, are met, which include neutering, micro-chipping and insuring within a set time-frame, issued with an exemption certificate.
The court can only order exemption, if satisfied that the dog is not a danger to public safety; the court must now look at the temperament and past behaviour of the dog, whether the applicant is a ‘fit and proper’ person to be in charge of the dog and any other relevant circumstances.
Exempted dogs and their owners/keepers must follow strict rules and regulations which include muzzling and leashing in public places.
The changes will affect exempted dogs, much loved family members and companions - dogs which have already been found by a court of law, not to be a danger to public safety.
A family canine member may need to be appointed a new person to care for it, for a variety of reasons, including, housing issues, accident/injury, employment/work commitments, family commitments, divorce/separation. Due to the changes, someone can only apply via a court application, which will be a complicated process for the average person to follow, to be the keeper if the previous person in charge of the dog is either dead or seriously ill.
Due to the S.I a husband/wife/partner/family member/friend or anyone else cannot apply to become the registered keeper unless the current person in charge of the dog is either dead or seriously ill.
We presume (and hope to clarify) due to the S.I, a charity (e.g. a dog rescue) or company, if registered on the exemption certificate as the registered owner, cannot appoint another separate registered keeper to the one currently appointed, unless there has been a death or serious illness of the ‘appointed person’ – the position is ambiguous and unclear and it need not be. The process for a rescue/animal welfare charity/organisation to register and re-home an exempted dog should be possible and straightforward.
If the person who the exemption certificate has been issued to is away and at a different address to their dog for more than 30 days over the course of a year, the dog must die, this cannot be fair nor just, it is not necessary.
Please keep all correspondence polite.
What should be amended?
The procedure regarding the change of the registered keeper on the exemption certificate should remain as it, or if changed and a court process introduced, it should be the court’s decision to make after hearing the circumstances.
The restriction requiring the appointed person to be dead or seriously ill should be removed-there should not be limited reasons laid down in law to allow for a transfer of the person appointed to take charge of the dog.
The requirement that the exempted dog and appointed person must reside at the same address save for 30 days over a year, should be removed: The Index of Exempted Dogs could be informed if the owner/keeper is away for more than 30 consecutive days. If the dog is kept at a different address, to where it is registered, for longer than a period of 30 days; the Index can be notified of a change of address, as is currently the case.
The process for a rescue/animal welfare charity/organisation to register and re-home an exempted dog via a transfer of keepership should be possible, straightforward and not restricted by the changes.
Please be a voice for exempted dogs!
DDA Watch Ltd
Petition Signatures Needed - Support our online petition.
DDAWatch is a Not for profit company, registration number 7393352. While care has been taken to ensure information is correct it must be noted that this site should be considered a guide only. If you find yourself affected by legislation you must seek legal representation. Information given is for England and Wales only. Legislation in Scotland and N. Ireland may differ.