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Endangered Dogs Defence and Rescue comment

We are deeply saddened with the shocking news that a one-year-old child has lost his life due to the injuries received from a dog attack at a relatives’ home in Wakefield on Friday 28th December. Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with the family and those involved at this devastating time. The full facts surrounding this tragic incident are not yet fully understood and a Police investigation is currently in progress.

The national debate surrounding the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) legislation has once again re-opened as media interest and in some cases misinformation has followed. Pet owners need to be aware that the law has not changed and there are currently no plans to change it: Rottweilers are not a prohibited or restricted breed under Section One of the DDA legislation – if you are worried due to information you have read or heard, please contact us to verify its accuracy.
As a responsible owner, please keep your dog under control at all times, if you have any concerns about your dogs behaviour please contact your local veterinary surgery for further advice and remember the age old advice:

Children and dogs should not be left alone together and should always be supervised by a responsible adult who is in full control and able to cope with the situation.

EDDR feels that Government needs to get serious about preventing dog bites and promoting responsible dog ownership; it’s all too easy to demonize a specific breed and reflect the attention away from the real issues.

It surely must be important to realise that the majority of dog-related incidents actually happen in the home and clearly the way forward to preventing many dog attacks lies not with attempting to ban a relatively small number of dogs but with educating a large number of current and potential dog owners and their families.

What we need is better awareness and education with increased circulation of freely available material which will help inform people, of all ages, exactly how to prevent dog bites from occurring – there is a wealth of information available out there but it is simply not getting through, en masse, to where it is most needed.

Relying solely on canine charities and groups to raise awareness and provide education is not good enough. Relying on the DDA to prevent dog attacks does not work. The Government should take responsibility, take advice and discuss the best way forward.

EDDR also urges Government to discuss the following recommendations:

*A nationwide research programme, investigating the circumstances surrounding incidents by qualified canine behaviourists working alongside the authorities, to help understand what facts lead to a dog behaving dangerously.

*Establishment of a central database to record and monitor information on dog bite incidents; this would help monitor the effectiveness of any initiatives and identify particular problem areas. Currently dog bite statistics are still not centrally kept.

*Analysis of collated information to determine how dogs behaving dangerously can best be prevented and ways in which safety around dogs can better be improved; following up with circulation of this information where it can be most effectively relayed to the general dog owning population.

Fatal dog attacks are rare and unacceptable. There are enough experts out there-why is there such a huge Governmental failure to bring it together and work it out?

Being proactive rather than reactive will save lives, surely by now it must be apparent that when it comes to people and dogs, understanding and education is paramount.

More carrot and less stick is needed; equip adults and children with the practical skills and knowledge they need - not useless legislation and canine witch-hunts.

For further details on the workings of the DDA legislation go to