(BVA Release) Vets are celebrating a victory for the principle of ‘deed not breed’ in the control of dangerous or out of control dogs, after the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill passed Stage 3 in the Scottish Parliament unanimously today.
As a member of the Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group (DDASG), the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has been lobbying members of the Scottish Parliament to support the Control of Dogs Bill since it was introduced as a Member’s Bill by Alex Neil MSP and continued by Christine Grahame MSP.
Ahead of the Stage 3 debate the BVA and DDASG lobbied all MSPs requesting their support for an amendment tabled by Patricia Ferguson MSP, which removed the reference to a dog’s “size and power” when considering whether it is out of control.
The amendment was passed today by 57 to 42 votes.
Commenting, Professor Bill Reilly, President of the BVA, said:
“This a fantastic step forward in our campaign against breed-specific legislation and we are grateful to Christine Grahame and Patricia Ferguson for enshrining the important principle of ‘deed not breed’ in legislation.
“The key message is that any dog can show aggression, particularly if it is not handled and trained properly, so legislation that provides the tools to target irresponsible ownership before it becomes a problem is very welcome.
“The rest of the UK should now look to Scotland and replace the failed breed-specific legislation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
Andrew Ash, President-Elect of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and BVA representative on the DDASG, added:
“The BSAVA is delighted that the Scottish Parliament has signed up to the principle of deed not breed.
“A dog’s behaviour is largely the result of the rearing and training provided by the owner. The problems caused by dangerous dogs will never be solved until dog owners appreciate that they are responsible for the actions of their animals.
“The veterinary profession will continue to support all efforts to promote responsible ownership and work with owners who are struggling with their pets.”