25 February 2011


Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has welcomed a new law which comes into force across Scotland tomorrow designed to more effectively tackle the issue of dangerous dogs.  The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament in April 2010 following successful lobbying from Dogs Trust and the Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group.  

The Act, which was put forward by Christine Graham MSP, champions the principle of ‘deed not breed’ whereby a dog is judged on its behaviour rather than its breed, and provides local authorities with greater powers to impose penalties on irresponsible owners.

Dogs Trust, which has two Rehoming Centres in Scotland, has long campaigned for a fresh approach to the management of dangerous dogs in the UK, following the failure of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act to prevent dog attacks. Dogs Trust believes that the issue of dangerous dogs is primarily a social problem and that any solution must address the problem of irresponsible owners. The new Act highlights the responsibility of the owners to prevent dog attacks in order to greater protect the public and places less emphasis on the breed of dog.

Clarissa Baldwin, Dogs Trust CEO, said:

“Dogs Trust greatly welcomes the introduction of this Act as it places a legislative focus on the deed, rather than the breed of dog and will quite rightly hold irresponsible dog owners to account.  However, it is vital that Local Authorities provide their officers with adequate training to ensure this Act is properly enforced.  

“Scotland is leading the way on this issue but more needs to be done across the rest of the UK.  The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (DDA) was a knee jerk piece of legislation which has done little to protect the public and has had massive welfare implications for thousands of dogs who have been put to sleep simply because of their breed.  Dogs Trust is continuing to lobby the Government to repeal and replace the current DDA and to introduce the compulsory microchipping of dogs.”      

Notes to Editors:

  • The Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group (DDASG) has been heavily involved lobbying during the passage of the Dog Control (Scotland) Act) and includes representation from: Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, British Veterinary Association, the Kennel Club, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Wandsworth Borough Council and Wood Green Animal Shelters.
  • Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity caring for over 16,000 dogs each year at its 17 rehoming centres in the UK.
  • Dogs Trust has a non destruction policy and will never destroy a healthy dog.
  • Dogs Trust is working towards the day when all dogs are free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.
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