Home | welcome to dangerousdogsact.co.uk News

Merseyside Exempted Dogs -

Death By Paperwork-An Act Too Far:

Jadey28th March 2014:

Thursday’s appalling news regarding Merseyside police seizing exempted dogs whose owners may not have renewed their third party liability insurance is shocking beyond imagination.

According to the statistics released by the police yesterday 22 exempted dogs have been seized for a breach in the conditions of exemption, as far as we are aware there has been no legal hearing connected with the alleged breach and no court decision after hearing the full circumstances in each individual case.

We are in contact with Wheldon Law solicitors who have informed us they have spoken directly to the Merseyside police and they have confirmed the exempted dogs seized so far have all lost their lives.

We have been contacted by distressed owners directly involved as well as many owners who have read the negative and biased news reports and are worried sick.

We do not know how many families are at this moment in time grieving the loss of their dog, a dog that was no doubt surrounded by a feeling of belonging, and then ripped away from a loving family, shut away from all hope of a life-line leaving a desperate owner behind, not given any time for one last hug or goodbye kiss, no time to find help, no time to speak to a solicitor to obtain legal advice, nothing... just the message of their dog's destruction and the family pet punished for an insurance lapse, leaving people distraught as a four legged friend was dragged away never to be seen again.

People make mistakes, for any number of reasons, situations are not always straightforward, not always black and white, for some, making that error, if that is the case, has cost the life of an innocent dog and they have to now live with that.

We speak with those affected by BSL every day of the week, not everyone is aware of the rules and regulations in place, not everyone understands it, not everyone knows where to get help or that there is even any help out there, not everyone is connected to the internet or following BSL news, in the loop so to speak, not everyone is aware that by not renewing their insurance on time and sending proof of their renewal to Defra it could lead to the killing of their pet dog.

It is all too easy to quickly turn on the people who are suffering the pain and guilt of losing their beloved dogs, rather than looking at the bigger picture; exempted dogs are being rounded up and put to death due to an alleged breach of breed specific legislation, no hearing, no trial. Seizure and death.

People in this country are relying on food banks for themselves and for their animals, struggling to survive without jobs, higher bills, some have been flooded out of their homes and there is so much more that this country as a whole is suffering from. Yet here we are watching the murder of family pets when there are people without hope on the streets, people who need help, social problems stacking up, yet this is where our taxes are going, on dawn raids to remove dogs from their homes because of an alleged insurance lapse?
If the police are first targeting owners of exempted dogs who have children, how will this affect those children for the rest of their lives? Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to put oneself in their shoes, did they have to choose between feeding their children, keeping them warm or buying insurance for a dog which is proved not to pose a danger to public safety?
Yes there should be consequences to our actions or lack of; however, to kill a family member, a living, breathing soul for the sake of £25.00, with no legal hearing is in our opinion despicable and unreasonable.

What if the owner renewed their insurance but they didn't send proof of the renewal through to the Index?

What if the owner was in hospital, has had an accident, or is, or has been seriously ill?

What if the owner thought their partner had renewed it?

What if they messed up their direct debit or their bank made a mistake?

What if their credit card had expired? The owner may have just suffered bereavement. They could have been made homeless or moved house and didn't think to inform the index quickly enough; the renewal could have gone to their old address.

Maybe some owners thought it was paid for life because they just didn't understand it. Maybe they didn't have the money, maybe they don't have access to the internet, or very limited credit for their phone and don’t know where to get help from, maybe they rang round and no one could advise. Maybe they were saving up for it or trying to sell something to pay for it. Maybe they are disorganised, struggling to get by and messed up.

There are lots of maybes out there in the real world, because everyone is different and some people are struggling with their lives and their dog is holding them together.

Without knowing the situation on each seizure we don’t know it all but none of us are perfect and we cannot know what is going on in others’ lives at a point in time. The hardships others may be facing, the problems, the fact that life is generally difficult for many these days and there is little help available for those with social and financial problems.

The news actually made many of us feel physically sick, thinking of how those owners must be feeling right now and speaking to distraught owners on the helplines. Whatever the circumstances, you can guarantee the owners of the dogs will not be sleeping tonight or tomorrow, they will be grieving and hating themselves and trying to comfort their children. People have compassion for these dogs but where is their compassion for the owners?

We know from experience that the owners trying to save their dogs are ordinary, caring people like you and I. They are not the thugs and criminals the government seems hell bent on labelling them. Yes, there will always be people with convictions in our society, those who have not lead a perfect straight and narrow life, but there are people in all walks of life who have a less than white past, that is human nature.

What we can say, is that those who we help go through all the heartache and trouble and financial burden of going to court to speak up for and to save their much loved dog, do so wholeheartedly, some despite great odds stacked against them, and they are real people and some are with genuine problems and often on their knees with nothing to fight with but they fight like lions to get their dogs back home safely where they belong. They, like us, don't want to see a perfectly healthy, friendly pet dog killed for no reason.

That is what BSL does, it is legislation fashioned by politicians, and it causes the death of innocent pet dogs, for no reason. These dogs haven’t actually done anything wrong, we must not forget that.

We will not sit back and point the finger now, when it's too late and when it's easy to fall in line like puppets with derogatory statements issued and the media that we already know is sensationalist, creating dreadful headlines from others grief, in order to sell more newspapers.

We cannot have it both ways or use the media to beat the owners when it suits us, or automatically blame every owner when the full facts are not known.
And apparently, 22 dogs 'humanely' killed, is just the start. There appears to be no court involvement, instead exempted dogs are being taken from their homes and put to death straightaway. Can this be right?

The reasons are endless as to why people make mistakes because we are only human; but it should be up to the courts to decide and the humans who face a penalty, not the innocent dog. In our opinion and surely in any civilised society, there should be a legal process for an alleged breach of law and a court which makes a decision - based on each situation and circumstance, not up to the police to act as jury and executioner.

Not renewing insurance on time does not automatically make you a 'bad owner' - it's out of order to tar everyone with the same brush, and unless you know the full situation how can such sweeping statements be made? It's not always black and white for everyone. Life is not like that.

Exempted dogs are being dragged from their homes and murdered with no court hearing, this is what people should focus on, not on whether their owner messed up on the paperwork. This is all part of BSL and the tragedies it causes.

As the saying goes 'Let him who is without sin cast the first stone' and indeed, only those who are faultless have the right to pass judgment upon others. I don't think any of us know a faultless, perfect person.

So we will not be joining in the blame game. We will continue to offer advice and support to all those affected by BSL.
And we will be thinking of the canine victims involved, as well as those human victims left grieving for lost best friends.

For those canine companions who didn't make it today and for those yet to be rounded up and sent to their death under an operation which resembles a witch-hunt from the Middle Ages, we will remember you and our thoughts are with your families and all those who loved you.

Rest in peace precious ones, you did not deserve to die xx
Pictured: Much loved family dog Jadey, a victim of Thursday’s round up. Also pictured with her little friend.


Tears in the Mersey - A song in loving memory of the 22 exempted dog victims in Merseyside, UK, killed 27th March 2014. And for all the countless tragic canine victims of BSL around the world and the families who love them. We will speak up for you. xx

The Sunday Express

Sunday Express


Dogs Today Magazine:

Dogs Today


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.
about us
UK Legislation | reference for laws concerning the dangerous dogs act.
Campaigns | details of all the campaigns that are on going.
How Can You Help? | information on many of the different way you can get involved and help out.
Rescue & Rehoming
Links | Spread the word.
Events | What's on and where.
In Memory | dedication to those we won't ever forget.
Contact Us | we want to hear from you so here are all the ways you can get in touch.
Links | a collection of useful links that you may want to know about.