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Deputy Mayor calls for end to ‘weapon dogs’

LONDON’S Deputy Mayor of Policing Kit Malthouse has made a plea in the Times this week calling for so called "weapon dogs" to be phased out.

His impassioned plea, which was aimed at the government, asks that it review the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and consider gently ‘phasing out the canine weapons that terrorise the streets of Peckham, Toxteth and Moss Side’.

London has been particularly hit hard with the proliferation of the ‘weapon dog’, with Metropolitan Police reporting that from 2002 to 2006 43 dogs were seized, in 2008 this figure stood at 719. In 2009 the figures are likely to exceed 1,000.

Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse said in his piece that while all the talk at Westminster is of Lisbon, Legg and quantitative easing, on the streets of London and our other major cities much of the talk is of something else entirely. There is a new weapon in town: lethal, intimidating and yet openly carried, largely with impunity and that while an illegal gun will get you ten years inside, and a knife four years, there is a weapon that can tear off a man’s arm but will get you only up to six months or, more likely, a small fine.


Following our recent report by Archie Bryden on Battersea Dogs Home, reports clearly show that bull breeds account for nearly 50 per cent of its dogs, a proportion that has doubled in the past five years. In England and Wales the number of prosecutions brought under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act has also more than doubled in the past 10 years, and the number of convictions has tripled. The RSPCA also says its hospitals are “full to the brim” with weapon dogs that have been stabbed, burnt, beaten or injured in fights.

Canada is seen as an example for the UK to follow with a ban on all "bull breeds" and derivates, including pitbulls and Staffordshire bull terriers. Existing dogs were required to be registered or neutered and muzzled at all times. Deputy Mayor Malthouse said of the Canadian example: "The result? A huge fall in the number of of dog-related injuries and incidents. This approach manages to be both humane to those who have a dog of this type and draws a line under the problem".

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