(BVA Release) An independent report on dog health and welfare called for legislation on dangerous dogs to be updated to move away from current breed-specific legislation, which is failing to protect both humans and animals.
Professor Bateson’s report focused on the welfare issues relating to the breeding of dogs and includes a specific recommendation that “the Dangerous Dogs Act should be amended to apply to all dogs that have been shown to be dangerous rather than to specified breeds and should address the problem of dogs being bred and reared specifically as weapons or for fighting.”
The British Veterinary Association has welcomed Professor Bateson’s recommendation, which adds fuel to the wide-ranging calls by the veterinary profession, Kennel Club and animal welfare charities that new legislation is required to tackle the growing problem of weapon dogs.
The current legislation – the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 – bans certain breeds which means huge amounts of public money are spent kennelling non-aggressive seized dogs while their breed is determined, causing suffering for the dog and its family.
It also ignores the fact that any animal can become aggressive and dangerous and can lead to a false sense that non-banned dogs will be safe.
Commenting, Nicky Paull, Past President of the British Veterinary Association, said:
“We are delighted that Professor Bateson has added his significant opinion to the call for the dangerous dogs law to be updated.
“The current rules have huge welfare implications for the thousands of dogs who are seized every year and kept in police or local authority kennels away from their families.
“Moreover, as Professor Bateson points out, they are having no impact on the number of people hospitalised by dog attacks.
“We understand that parliamentary time is scarce, but tackling this growing problem should be a priority for any government wishing to reduce the cost to the public purse, protect the public and reduce suffering of animals.”