"Dangerous Dogs": Deal with the Deed, Not the Breed

Dangerous dogs campaign
 

The Kennel Club is campaigning for the overhaul of existing dangerous dogs legislation. Regulating this issue and protecting the public has posed a problem for legislators for many years. 

The responsibility of the owner

The Kennel Club believes that existing breed specific legislation fails to protect the public and must be overhauled to place greater responsibility on dog owners and remove the huge welfare implications affecting dogs deemed to be of a certain type.

Under section 2 of the 1871 Dogs Act, a dog may be reported to the police or a Magistrate's court for acting dangerously and/or out of control. If the court concurs, an order can be made for the dog to be kept by the owner under proper control, or destroyed. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1989 extended the powers available to a court on a complaint under this legislation, together with additional rights of appeal and enhanced penalties.

There are various factors that breed specific legislation ignores that contribute to biting incidents and the Kennel Club maintains that irresponsible ownership is the most common. Instead of a law concerning the criminal and/or anti-social behaviour of some owners and the ignorance and misinformation of others, what currently exists is legislation that punishes a dog simply for the way it looks (read our issue statement here).

More recently the implementation of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 has had a significant effect on the welfare of some dogs by banning certain so-called aggressive breeds:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Braziliero

This Act has led to thousands of dogs every year kept in kennels for many years or euthanased simply because of their breed or type. Furthermore, the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997 removed the mandatory destruction order provisions on banned breeds and re-opened the Index of Exempted Dogs for dogs.

Click here to view the campaign by region.

The Kennel Club's position continues to be one of 'deal with the deed, not the breed', based on the circumstances of individual occurrences and it believes that it is unacceptable to ban all dogs of a specific breed based on the actions of a single animal. The KC believes every dog should be considered on its individual character as to whether it represents a danger to people.

Furthermore, there are various factors that breed specific legislation ignores that contribute to biting incidents and the Kennel Club maintains that irresponsible ownership is the most common. Instead of a law concerning the criminal and/or anti-social behaviour of some owners and the ignorance and misinformation of others, what currently exists is legislation that punishes a dog simply for the way it looks.

- See more at: /our-resources/media-centre/issue-statements/dangerous-dogs-act/#sthash.qAFxvPtu.dpuf
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Related Topics

Dangerous DogsInformation Guides

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