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(Updated 14/5/01)

Dog Legislation Advisory Group replaces reform group

-looking ahead to the future and a global approach

ON THE 23rd April 2001, The Kennel Club hosted a meeting of the Working Party on Non Breed Specific Legislation and were joined by representatives from NCDL, PRO Dogs, Blue Cross, RSPCA and FVE (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe).

After careful consideration and in view of discussions that have taken place over the last few months regarding the need to encompass and monitor breed specific legislation worldwide, and as a result of a decision taken at the last meeting of the DDA Reform Group, it was decided that the existing Reform Group would disband and be replaced by the newly formed Dog Legislation Advisory Group.

Constituted by the late Lord Houghton of Sowerby in 1991, the DDA Reform Group was instrumental in lobbying Parliament and voicing its concerns that the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act was pernicious to dogs and their owners and had no place within UK legislation in its original format. Through the efforts of the Group, 1997 saw the lifting of the mandatory destruction order placed on dogs that had the misfortune to have the incorrect conformation.
Since Germany’s introduction of punitive breed specific legislation, it has become increasingly apparent, especially with the UK’s part in the European Union, that this type of anti-dog legislation must be monitored and combated, both at European level and worldwide. Whilst this factor will be of primary importance to the Dog Legislation Advisory Group, they will also be reviewing other issues such as political party manifestoes and dog fighting legislation, as it is intended that the Dog Legislation Advisory Group has a broad and wide ranging remit.

The Secretariat is in the process of inviting other organisations such as the BVA, BSAVA, Pet Care Trust and National Dog Wardens’ Association to join the steering committee and the Group will also invite interested parties, such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Council, to attend specific meetings as appropriate.

Said Clarissa Baldwin, NCDL Chief Executive, “As the dangerous dogs issue is assuming an increasingly global dimension, it is appropriate that The Kennel Club should take on the role of Secretariat and the NCDL are looking forward to working closely with them in the future.”

Clarissa continued, “We are delighted that the DDA Reform Group, as originally convened, achieved its main target of the successful introduction of the 1997 Amendment Act. We appreciate that there are still faults with the 1991 Act and are confident that The Kennel Club will not lose sight of that fact. beyond this, however, there is a pressing need for a comprehensive review of canine legislation in this country.”

Pleased

Secretary of The Kennel Club Caroline Kisko concluded, “We are very pleased with both the new group’s inception and support from the other organisations. The Dog Legislation Advisory Group will continue to monitor breed specific legislation throughout the world, but we will also consider other issues closer to home and make the necessary representations to Government where applicable. We would urge that all dog lovers continue to protest against anti-dog legislation as we must all ensure that the dog firmly remains ‘man’s best friend’”.

One of the Group’s first tasks will be to commission a scientific study regarding the effects of breed and other factors on aggressive behaviour of dogs, which will include both a review of scientific literature and the incidence of dog bites, collecting information such as breed, age and sex of dog. It is hoped that this study will prove that breed specific aggression does not exist.

The Kennel Club’s Domino Campaign also continues to actively oppose breed specific legislation, with the full support of volunteers and concerned dog owners.

If you would like further information on Domino, please contact The Kennel Club directly or go to www.dominodogs.org