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KC calls for amnesty alternative

THE KENNEL Club will be calling on the government to review dangerous dogs legislation in light of public concern and police raids on homes where pit bull type dogs are kept.

However unlike Easington Council that is calling for an amnesty of all pit bull type dogs, the Kennel Club is seeking an alternative amnesty and deems the actions taken by Easington Council deplorable.

Although it is unknown whether the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will be reviewing the Dangerous Dogs Act in light of the tragic incident involving Ellie Lawrenson, the Kennel Club would strongly support such a review. At the present time, however, the Kennel Club believes that there should be a national alternative amnesty whereby all owners of pit bull terrier type dogs would be able to apply to a court, without fear of prosecution, for their dog to be registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs on the basis that their dog would not constitute a danger to public safety.

Proof of this could be determined by the court’s judgement taking into account the dog’s history, the dog’s owner and the dog’s character. If indeed a dog was found to be aggressive then it would not be able to be registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs and would subsequently have to be humanely destroyed. If however, the dog in question was of a pit bull type but was well trained, had a responsible owner and generally posed no threat to the public then it would be able to be registered on the Index.

The amnesty currently being carried out by Easingham Council is a poorly thought out and ineffective response to a tragic situation, that will lead to the death of many well loved family pets and cause a great deal of distress to dog owners. The temperaments of pit bull type dogs vary significantly since a dog’s genetics (breed) has very little to do with its behaviour.

Research shows that this is influenced most by the dog’s owner, the environment it lives in and the training it is given. In the wrong hands, any breed of dog can be dangerous - the number of dog attacks by breeds other than those on the dangerous dogs list, illustrates this. Similarly, any dog that has been trained by its owner appropriately and sufficiently should not be outlawed or destroyed based on its breed alone.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: ‘It is important for people to understand that current legislation is out of touch with reality. There are estimated to be thousands of pit bull terrier type dogs in the UK and it is morally objectionable for those which have done nothing wrong, which have loving and responsible owners to be killed for no good reason; akin to ethnic cleansing which is considered to be abhorrent in terms of human beings.

There seems to be a misconception that these dogs are inherently bad, but that is a complete fallacy. The 1991 legislation was rushed through Parliament as a knee-jerk response to a spate of pit bull attacks and has since failed to prevent further attacks. Most importantly it failed to address the root cause of the problem, the dog’s owner and its training’.