Scores of people are to take to the streets of Nottingham this weekend in protest against dangerous dog legislation.
Good! Protesting that it’s useless and doesn’t go far enough, I presume?
Rescue workers and dog lovers alike are demonstrating against Breed Specific Legislation, which under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (Section 1) bans certain types of dogs in the UK.
Now, while I might have some sympathy with the anti-BSL people, and find the DDA about as useful in protecting the public as a wet paper bag, what’s done is done.
Certain breeds were considered so inherently dangerous that they were declared persona-non-grata in this country. Rigorous enforcement of that legislation (which is where all such legislation falls down, really, isn’t it?) should have seen the last one die of old age years ago.
We have enough large legal breeds capable of mayhem. We don’t need to encourage more.
That said… well, the campaign has its PR problems, in its less coherent members:
Pauline Cole, who has been helping to organise a number of the protests, maintains it is “a racist law” .
She’s got room in that mouth for another foot, though:
“It’s heartbreaking to see what people are going through,” she said.
“You just see the high profile cases, that’s all people see. They don’t see the normal family at number 52 whose dog had been taken, incarcerated and murdered.”
Animals aren’t ‘murdered’. And when you look at the claims made that ‘normal families’ have been affected unduly by this legislation, you come up somewhat short.
Most children savaged by these dogs are the children of the owner, or friends of the owner. Attacks on strangers are, mercifully, rare.
The Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group, made up of animal welfare organisations, veterinary professionals and local authorities, maintains the legislation has created a ‘status dog’ problem.
No. lax enforcement of anti-social behaviour legislation, police indifference/incompetence and court-sanctioned tolerance of irresponsible owners has created a ‘status dog’ problem.
As a result of their complaints, campaigners are calling for a number of alterations to be made. Firstly, many say microchipping is a vital first step. The Dogs Trust believes “compulsory microchipping of all dogsshould form a central part of any future policy on tackling irresponsible dog ownership.”It explains: “Microchipping will not prevent attacks, but we believe that it is the most effective way to link a dog to its owner, and to make irresponsible owners accountable for the actions of their dog.”
Looking back at the last handful of cases of attacks on pets or children, identification of ownership of the dog has hardly ever been an issue.
So just why should microchipping all dogs be suggested as an answer? It makes me wonder who it is that has stock in pet chip companies!
Protesters also advocate the removal of the stipulation to kennel dogs while court proceedings are pending. As it stands, seized dogs are kept by police until a decision is reached on whether it needs to be destroyed or released. This can take several weeks or months, during which times owners are not allowed to visit their dogs.Many campaigners also believe mechanisms should be put in place to allow responsible owners to make applications to court for their dog to be registered, and for magistrates to be given a new power to allow a dog to be returned home on ‘bail’ pending a case being concluded. This, campaigners say, would improve welfare for dogs.
I could care less about the ‘welfare’ of a dog that’s savaged a child or another pet (maybe to death) or that is seized by the police because it’s thought to be one of the banned breeds. And, frankly, if the length of time it takes to get to court is an issue, fix that! Don’t simply release Fang back to the care of his useless owner.
The problem with the large bull-type breeds is that, no matter how careful and responsible the owner, they are autonomous beings, and they have the potential to cause great damage should they flip out.
As is pointed out in the comments:
“Whilst you lot held your protest today, my 16 week old puppy was attacked by a Staff both dogs were on a lead, and had met before, the owner was a pleasant elderly gentleman who assured us he would’t stand for that kind of behaviour from his dog. My springer pup has had to have a tear in his ear sewn back together and received punture wounds to his skull. It was unprovoked and without warning, the owner of the staff was more shocked I believe than we were, come on people, we can’t control the dogs who arn’t on the dangerous dogs register, what makes your think we can manager the even stonger ones that are???? Lets bear in mind this staff attacked a puppy. By the way this little incident which you lot obviously don’t care about has cost us over £300. This incident could of been alot worse if the staff had managed to get a better hold on my pup.”