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New threat to dogs in France

We all know that French and German politicians have similar views on a federal Europe but now it seems that the personal ambition of one potential candidate for the French Presidency sees him copying the ridiculous German anti-dog laws as the way to persuade his fellow citizens to vote for him.

Just when the British authorities are starting to realise that breed specific legislation doesn't stop young thugs and irresponsible dog owners from causing problems with their "pets", Mr Nicolas Sarkozy is looking to extend the existing breed lists "like those in other European countries".

Obviously he can only mean Germany since no other European country has even considered following the line that sees Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers listed as "dangerous dogs", banned from breeding and importing. Rumour has it that the Dogue de Bordeaux, Mastiffs and maybe even Ridgebacks and Dalmatians could be in his sights. After all in the simplistic World of gaining popularity the more breeds you ban, the less French children will get bitten!

In the UK, police, local Councils, veterinary bodies, in fact virtually every professional and care organisation is now calling for breed specific legislation to be condemned to the dustbin of history and for properly considered laws, based on the responsibilities of ownership, to be implemented in their place. Many years ago I wrote an article published in The Kennel Gazette entitled "It's time to start protecting the public".

It is indeed gratifying to see the impetus gathering around this ideal and that maybe, within the not too distant future, we may see the public in the UK properly protected by laws, based on the principles of Antisocial Behaviour Orders, that genuinely enable the police and local authorities to prevent dog attacks by dealing with minor infractions before they escalate to serious assaults.

Recent publicity about young thugs in London, Manchester and Liverpool using their dogs as weapons has surely proved what we have been saying since Kenneth Baker first decided to garner popularity for a threatened government by banning Pitbulls. It must now be obvious even to the most ardent anti-dog politician that banning one breed just moves the problem to another.

Unless they have ambitions to ban all dogs in cities (as seriously proposed by one caller to the Vanessa Feltz show on Radio London last week) and bearing in mind that they would be adversely affecting the lives of about 35% of their voters, they must now realise that the threat is posed by the owners not the particular breed of dog those thugs happen to currently favour.

Meanwhile, French dog owners must hope that one politician's ambitions won't be the start of a witch hunt like that in Germany which saw harmless pet dogs shot to death in public parks - for "looking dangerous" and the European Union referring the legality of those laws to their complaints department. Hopefully wiser counsels will prevail and less driven French politicians will consider the various scientific evidence and broader experiences of the UK and other European countries and turn to laws that really protect the public.