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French Minister considers Stafford ban advice

THE CONTROVRSIAL plan by the French Agriculture Minister to ban Staffordshire Bull Terriers under breed specific legislation is currently under review, following an outcry from anti-BSL campaigners from around the world.

As reported previously, the new Agriculture Minister, Monsieur Sarkozy has caused outrage by attempting to enforce France’s ill-conceived BSL regulations against Staffords. It is understood that in recent months the French Kennel Club had asked the French Government to amend their Dangerous Dog Act to remove the words ‘Staffordshire Terrier’, since a ministerial predecessor of M. Sarkozy had confirmed in 2001 that this did NOT mean the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Despite his pronouncement, the name was still causing confusion.

M. Sarkozy appears to have spoken to the Police service in France and learned that they are having difficulty distinguishing Staffords from controlled breeds such as American Pit Bull Terriers and AmStaffs. M. Sarkozy has taken the rather extreme view of choosing to ban Staffords simply to make life easier for the French police. There is no new evidence been produced to suggest that Staffords are now a danger, merely an inconvenience.

Agriculture Ministry Civil Servant Madame Martine Balland was given the role of preparing a report on the matter for the Minister. Pierre-Louis Petit, Secretary of the French SBT Club and top SBT breeder Wolf Bergerhausen asked for support from all major animal British organisations such as the KC, BVA, Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Metropolitan Police and individual Stafford owners to lobby Mme Balland to save the Stafford and have the breeds’ name removed from the legislation.

Within days of the plea for help, Mme Balland e-mailed Mr Levy to ask him to ‘call the dogs off’, as she had been inundated with thousands of e-mails from Stafford owners and anti-BSL campaigners the UK and around the world. She declared that she would be raising the matter with M Sarkozy as a matter of urgency and would advise Mr Levy of the outcome as soon as possible.

The latest news on the matter from France was that the Agriculture Ministry, having considered the outcry had sent the Minister’s recommendations to the Interior Ministry. However, no one within either Ministry will confirm what the advice was, not what action will be taken. Added to this, the notoriously slow French bureaucratic process, coupled with summer holidays for many civil servants and government ministers means that a final decision will not be taken for several weeks, if not months.

OUR DOGS will continue to monitor the situation and will report on any developments as soon as they are known.