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Experts Plan Strategy For The Future Of ‘Dangerous’ Dogs

27 January 2015    12:00
Experts met to plan future of dangerous dogs campaign work
 

A meeting of dangerous dogs experts, led by the UK's largest dog welfare organisation, the Kennel Club, has laid the groundwork for an agreed strategy for reducing dog bite incidents in the UK.

The meeting enabled experts from across the veterinary and medical professions, the police, local authorities, government representatives, academics, sociologists and animal welfare charities, to share existing knowledge and information on dog bite incidents in order to develop a plan to garner government support and funding for a new nationwide strategy for dangerous, or out of control dogs.

A proposal will now be developed which will incorporate the need for a robust central database for the investigation of dog bite incidents, which can be fed into by relevant parties including vets, medics, the police and dog wardens.  This will provide crucial data on the causes of dog bites and will enable more preventative measures to be implemented, such as required training for any dog which shows early signs of aggression.

Also included in the proposed strategy will be the need to treat dog aggression as a public health issue and the importance of educating dog owners, the general public, children and educators on responsible dog ownership and how to safely interact with dogs.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said:  "Dog bites are clearly a public health issue, and to ensure that both public safety and dog welfare remain paramount we need to make changes to this country's strategy on dogs which are allowed to be out of control. It is absolutely crucial that we get it right to avoid a further increase in dog bite incidents.

"We believe the key to this is through gathering data on incidents as they happen through immediate and thorough investigation, so that genuinely preventative measures can be put in place and the law can be overhauled to reflect this.

"There are so many factors that need to be looked at when a dog bites someone, including social, medical, cultural, psychological and behavioural elements, and by gathering such data we can get far better insight into the reasons for bites.

"A key part of a preventative strategy is education on how to interact safely with dogs.  The majority of recorded incidents involve children in some way, so educating them from an early age is crucial.  There are initiatives and information resources that exist already, such as the Kennel Club's Safe and Sound programme and Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme, as well as the Pet Education Resources group, but we would like to see a more unified education programme to reduce dog bite incidents.

"We were overwhelmed by the turnout and the level of interest in the roundtable discussion and are glad that all relevant stakeholders are keen to move forward together on this important issue.  The meeting was very much the first step in pushing for a new strategy on dangerous dogs and we are particularly appreciative for the support of our speakers at the meeting, Kendal Shepherd, Danielle Greenberg and Chris Mannion, who delivered effective arguments for why we need urgent change."

More information on the Kennel Club's dangerous dogs campaign can be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/dangerousdogs.

The Kennel Club believes that dangerous dog law should be updated and consolidated and replaced with preventative measures based on evidence gathered through data collected on a national level from hospitals and GPs, veterinary surgeries, police dog units, and dog wardens, amongst other sources, instead of laws based on the stereotyping of certain breeds. 

Biographies for four key speakers at the dangerous dog meeting held by the Kennel Club:

Kendal Shepherd BVSc CCAB MRCVS
Kendal qualified from Bristol University in 1978.  With extensive experience in small animal practice, she was the first veterinary surgeon to be accredited by ASAB as a certificated clinical animal behaviourist in 2005.  She is currently heavily involved in the behavioural assessment of dogs for the Courts under both sections 1 and 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Danielle Greenberg BA Hons (Oxon.) MA BVSc MRCVS

Danielle studied Modern History at Oxford University before following her dream to become a vet. She qualified in 1998, and works in a busy small animal hospital in Liverpool.

Christopher J. Mannion FRCS(Eng.) FDSRCS(Eng.) PGC MedEd FHEA

Christopher qualified in Dentistry and then in Medicine from Guys, Kings and St Thomas' Medical school. Christopher works as a Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. He has a subspecialty interest in trauma and facial reconstruction. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds, School of Medicine, and is the Training Programme Director for training in Maxillofacial Surgery.

Bill Lambert

Bill is the Kennel Club Health & Breeder Services Manager. Bill has been involved with dogs all his life and bred his first litter in 1982. He is a Championship show judge of Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers and has officiated in a number of countries around the world. He is a former Vice Chairman of the Bull Terrier Club, and was a Committee Member from 1984 to 2007. Bill's interest in dangerous dogs began as early as the late 1970s when the American Pit Bull Terrier was first imported into the UK in large numbers and since that time he has visited breeders across the globe to gain a fuller understanding.

ENDS


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