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Deed Not Breed comments

Last month, another child was killed by a dog. This is a devastating and traumatic experience for the family and Deed Not Breed (DNB) and The Bull Breed Advisory Service (BBAS) extend our sincere sympathy and condolences to them.

We cannot comment or speculate on the reasons for this dreadful attack as the full circumstances surrounding it have not yet been released. However, what is clear is that it is yet more evidence of the total failure of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA). DNB and BBAS believe this is because we are focusing at the wrong end of the lead. No breed is inherently dangerous.

Many factors can surround dog attacks yet with no national bite statistics we are unable to pinpoint the most common factors, though restricting certain breeds is clearly not the answer.

Four types of dog have been banned for many years yet:

• A year ago Ellie Lawrenson died following an attack by an alleged pit bull type - the law did not protect her.

• Two Rottweilers killed Kaydee Lee in Leicester just over a year ago - the law did not protect her.

•In Wakefield /Bradford a dangerous dog ‘hand in’ has been in place for over a year yet a baby boy has been killed- the law did not protect him.

The law does not work because it focuses on the dog and not those responsible for the dog, whatever its breed.

We call on the government to urgently review the DDA with a view to drawing up new legislation that focuses not on types of dogs but on responsible ownership.

Responsible ownership includes proper controls of breeding and selling of dogs, training and education for owners, and a full registration scheme to enable the tracking of dogs and their owners. There needs to be education for all potential dog owners so they are fully aware of their responsibility as a dog owner before they become one, and continuing education and training to ensure that owners understand such things as the importance of training and socialisation.

Melanie Page, chairperson of Deed Not Breed said: ’In certain circumstances any dog could be dangerous. Isn’t it time to stop targeting specific breeds and instead focus on responsible ownership?’