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Docking law could be new Dangerous Dogs Act

The Council of Docked Breeds (CDB) has welcomed Government moves away from a total ban on tail docking within the forthcoming Animal Welfare Bill, but has warned that limiting exemptions to specific breeds could signal a repeat of the chaos of the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In an interview with The Times, animal welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw MP has acknowledged that there is a strong case for allowing docking to continue. Mr Bradshaw commented: “It seems odd to me that we allow human circumcision and, therefore, we should not be overdraconian in terms of animal welfare law. I want sensible, but useful and meaningful, reforms.”

However, he has indicated that only a few particular breeds of dog will escape a docking ban.

“Breed-specific legislation has repeatedly proved confusing, divisive and unworkable,” warned CDB Secretary Ginette Elliott. “The Dangerous Dogs Act will always be remembered as an example of what happens when Governments make their decisions on the basis of breed, and Ministers would be well advised to avoid doing so in this case,” she added.

“Puppies are docked at 48 hours old, when it can be impossible to distinguish breeds, while there are obvious difficulties in determining the status of dogs which do not conform to any recognised breed.

“Puppies are docked at 48 hours old, when it can be impossible to distinguish breeds, while there are obvious difficulties in determining the status of dogs which do not conform to any recognised breed.

“In our view, veterinary surgeons should have the ability to dock in the best future welfare interests of the dog, irrespective of what breed it is. We are pleased that the Minister is starting to move away from the total ban, but legislation based on breed is not he way forward. The Government should think again,” said Ginette Elliott.