Kennel Club supports House of Commons report on failings of Dangerous Dogs legislation

The Kennel Club is pleased to see the publication of the report released today by the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee regarding the failings of Dangerous Dog legislation and its inability to protect the public while harming animal welfare.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “The Kennel Club strongly believes that new legislation regarding dangerous dogs is needed and we have long been campaigning for a change in the law to concentrate on the prevention of dog attacks, submitting evidence to Efra to this effect.

“Current legislation focusses enforcement on the physical appearance of the dog and not on the behaviour of the dog or the owner. This means that potentially dangerous dogs are overlooked as they don’t have the appearance of a ‘dangerous’ dog. We want to see legislation that delivers preventative measures at an early stage before anything more serious happens and that doesn’t waste our already overstretched police resources on seizing particular breeds that are labelled as dangerous, regardless of the dog’s behaviour.

“The Kennel Club, along with the other leading welfare charities, developed the ‘Deed Not Breed’ campaign many years ago and as yet Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act, which was created nearly 30 years ago, has not been repealed. Seeking independent evidence on whether one breed of dog or crossbreed presents an inherently greater risk would be greatly welcomed, and the Kennel Club is delighted to see a recommendation to this effect in the report.

“The Kennel Club welcomes the proposal of the introduction of the new dog control notices which would help as part of a preventative strategy as they would allow authorities to take action against irresponsible dog owners at the first signs of their dog displaying aggression. These pre-emptive measures would mean that ‘problem dogs’, and indeed problem owners, could be addressed before a serious incident occurs.  

“The Kennel Club acknowledges that the report maintains that evidence is key to developing preventative strategies and in the Kennel Club’s ‘A Dog’s Life’ manifesto a proposal was put forward for government to establish a database of all serious and fatal dog bite incidents and for these to be investigated using the services of a suitable behaviourist to understand the causes and aid prevention. It is reassuring to see this as a measure that the committee has put forward in the report.

“The Kennel Club welcomes this excellent report which we were delighted to contribute to and hopes that the report enables the start for change to help prevent further tragedies occurring from ineffective dangerous dogs legislation across the whole of the UK.”