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Working With Dogs Affected by BSL:




Written by a DDA Watch supporter


I've been involved in rescue since the age of 15. I started working for one of the larger charities in 2013.

I knew of BSL mainly due to social media but never knew the true impact it had on owners or rescue staff until I witnessed it for myself. So this is my story.

As a rescue staff member I have witnessed 8 dogs be typed and euthanised. I have had to watch Dog legislation officers come in and conduct their assessments of perfectly behaved dogs.

I have read their reports and notes where they have commented that the dogs are lovely, however because of this law are to be killed.

The emotions you feel when you read the posts on Facebook are hard and upsetting but when you have bonded with these dogs for months and sometimes longer they become a part of your family and the pain stays with you for life.  

My story is of one dog in particular and many will know his name, I bond with many dogs I work with but for some reason he got under my skin and every day I would make sure I walked him and played fetch, well he would run round with the ball launcher and balls in his mouth with me chasing afterwards. I had no idea that in 6 months he would be taken from me due to BSL.

I wasn't working the day his assessment was done but I will never forget receiving a text message to say he had been typed.

I collapsed to the floor in the wholesalers and burst into tears. He was never treated any differently but he was spoilt. We would do regular walks into the town where he would be bought a cheeseburger and visit the charity shop.

We did a bucket list for him along with another dog. He had a photo shoot, cake and custard, visited the lakes and had a pub lunch along with many other special days out.

The months went on where I spoilt a dog I loved as my own, until one day I received a call from a colleague to say the police had been and seized him, that was it my boy had gone. I was straight on the train in hysterics, but why you ask? He had already gone I couldn't see him. The police returned him to the rescue a week later due to mistakes being made. He was so happy to see me and me to see my boy, we went straight for a run in the paddock and his fur was filled with kisses.  

I treasured every moment I had with him and whilst I was with him I tried not to let him see my emotions and let him see that things were different. Some may say rescue staff do not care but we hold a very brave face when we are with the dogs deemed of type so they don't pick up on anything different.

When I left work I cried on the train journey home, as soon as I got off the train I stood on the edge of the tracks wanting to end it all. I needed the pain to go away, I felt very alone and isolated in the pain I was in and still feel to this day that I couldn't see any way out. I felt like it was my fault he would die and that I had failed him despite many saying this is not true I do still believe I am responsible for his death and this will stay with me for life.

My boy died in police kennels on the 24th August 2015. A dog I loved since the first day he arrived into rescue, the boy known as forever my smushy face, the boy who all I have left of is his ashes in a box. He should not be in this box he should still be very much alive making me smile with his antics.

I miss my boy to this day, there are days when I want to give up and can no longer fight. Days where just getting out of bed is a struggle. There will be many more type dogs I will bond with and spoil and then hold whilst they are killed. I do not enjoy this and I wouldn't wish this pain I feel on anybody.

Working in rescue where BSL happens is emotionally and physically draining and the suicidal thoughts never go away but to rescue staff out there that have experienced or are experiencing this please never feel alone like I did and please seek help. You are not alone.

I hope you know smushy face that you were loved and still are with all my heart to this day and I am sorry I couldn't do more to save you.

Wait for me at the bridge my boy xx





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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