Dogs Trust: 25th anniversary of the Dangerous Dogs Act
9th August 2016
Dogs Trust is in full agreement with other welfare charities about the need to overhaul the existing Dangerous Dog legislation. In the 25th anniversary year of the Dangerous Dog Act 1991, Dogs Trust continues to highlight how drastic changes should be made to this flawed legislation to make it more effective, to better protect the public and to improve animal welfare.
One of the biggest failures of the DDA is the emphasis on breed-specific legislation. Despite banning certain types of dogs, such as the pit bull terrier type has been found to be subjective. In addition, the number of these dogs being placed onto the Index of Exempted Dogs proves the courts have deemed many of these dogs are not a danger to the public. If a dog has been typed a Pitbull, it does not mean it is any more aggressive than any other breed; just as a dog which is not a banned breed, can automatically be considered non-aggressive.
It is important to remember that the majority of the estimated 9 million dogs in the UK live happy, peaceful lives with their responsible owners. However, we strongly believe that clear, targeted legislation is needed to identify and deal with those owners who fail to take appropriate action to control their dogs. Dogs Trust hopes that compulsory microchipping will improve the traceability of irresponsible dog owners but more needs to be done. The charity will continue to look for reform in existing dog control laws until we are satisfied that any new measures are preventative and effective, and ultimately protect both dogs and people alike.
Dogs Trust has long believed that education is vital and in March 2015 Dogs Trust introduced a ground breaking education campaign called "Be Dog Smart". This dog safety campaign is run by a team of 24 Education Officers and 6 Youth Trainers across the UK who deliver around 7,000 workshops each year for children, families, teachers and carers. Through the Be Dog Smart website anyone who wants to ensure children stay safe around dogs can access a variety of information, request Be Dog Smart workshops and order advice booklets.