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DDA reforms called for by RSPCA
Charity backs calls for immediate end to BSL


The RSPCA have always held a less than positive stance with regards to the Dangerous Dogs Act, but last week the animal welfare organisation publicly backed the campaign for a repeal of section 1 of the DDA.

Section 1 of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act is a hotly debated topic which has caused much controversy since its inception by Ken Baker 18 years ago. The clause has been widely criticised for promoting breed specific legislation (BSL) which bans dogs based on their breed or type.
In short BSL means that a dog can be deemed ‘dangerous’ and consequently banned based solely on what it looks like regardless of the dog’s history and temperament. Many experts, law makers and dog lovers claim that since BSL has been in legislation in the UK, many innocent dogs have lost their lives.

DDAWatch, an anti-BSL campaign group, has congratulated the RSPCA’s decision to publicly back the repeal of section 1, believing that this will now pave the way for other animal welfare organisations to demonstrate their support for the campaign sending a clear message to the Government that section 1 of the DDA is a failed, unfair concept that needs to be reassessed.

Thrilled

Alison Green of DDAWatch said: ‘We are so thrilled to see the RSPCA step up to the plate on such an important issue that has cost the lives of many innocent dogs. For those people who have been actively involved in fighting section 1 cases, for those of us who’ve seen dog owners’ lives ripped apart by this appalling law, which has not protected the public at all, this announcement from the RSPCA will hopefully herald the start of many more calls for repeal and eventually the repeal itself.

‘Now owners and anti-BSL campaigners alike have some hope to cling to after so many false dawns. Now we have the opportunity of a lifetime to finally get the Government to see sense. They need to listen to the RSPCA and make the right call. Section 1 has been an unmitigated failure and an animal welfare disaster. It is such a relief to hear the RSPCA being brave and honest enough to publicly call for a repeal where other influential and supposedly anti-BSL organisations have fallen short, instead citing ‘political climate’ as a reason to keep BSL,’ added Ms Green.

Campaigners are rallying for a reformation of the Dangerous Dogs Act legislation similar to the one set by the Netherlands which places more emphasis on responsible dog ownership rather than ending the lives of dogs that are guilty of nothing more than looking a certain way.

Claire Robinson, the RSPCA’s Government Relations Manager, said: ‘The RSPCA has always stated the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is flawed, in that it focuses on breed, rather than ‘deed’.

‘Our animal hospitals treat bull-terrier type dogs on a daily basis for bite wounds, stabbings, injuries from traffic accidents and diseases caused by indiscriminate breeding.

‘We believe that any future legislation concerning the control of dogs should focus on the action of the owner and preventing irresponsible dog ownership. Irresponsible owners can own dogs of any breed or type, and no dog should be penalised because of its genetic make up,’ added Ms Robinson.


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At the inception the DDA objectives were achieved.  People have short memories when it revolves around dog figting and the awful cruelties imposed on the canine combatants.  Conveniently forgotten, the terrible injuries and deaths caused by fighting dogs when escaping from isolated hideaways. Dogs, children and adults were severely injured.   In some instances terrible disfigurement and death.  Yes, sadly there were innocent casualities along the way - these days, commonly excused by the term collateral damage.  At the time intrroduction - the DDA did exactly what was intended. 

Mike Homan

In response to Mike Homan. What exactly was that objective? When was it achieved? Name the cases that were brought to court that show how the objectives were achieved. How many deaths exactly were caused by 'escaped' fighting dogs, what planet did this happen on? Has the introduction of this warped law stopped deaths by dogs?

In my professional opinion the DDA achieved the following.

Caused dog fighting to go even further underground whilst the pet 'pit bull type' owning public got their dogs snatched from them to be incarcerated for life or murdered in the name of this new law which was knee jerk and media driven, it's biggest achievement was to temporarily shut up the media, something that the rich and famous can only hope for, it has led the public to believe they don't have to take responsibilty for their actions or inaction to control their own dogs thus putting more potential victims at risk, in leading the public to believe they were safe with the DDA in place it has, in fact, caused more deaths and injury.

It is time to ditch the DDA.

Janet Sykes MBIPDT MBIH



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