Dogs Trust reacts 29th February
Dogs Trust is horrified to hear that Stella, the Pit Bull-type dog held by Devon and Cornwall Police under the Dangerous Dogs Act, was reportedly caged for two years without exercise because she was deemed too aggressive to be exercised by handlers. Adequate exercise is essential for the mental stimulation of dogs as well as keeping them fit, and providing environmental enrichment through sniffing and social contact. These are basic welfare needs and are a crucial part of the life of a dog; a lack of any of those needs results is poor welfare and the possibility of adverse behaviours.
Whilst we do not know the exact circumstances around this particular case, we do feel that the courts should make an effort to expedite their proceedings in situations such as this. Dogs Trust would question why any dog should be held captive for prolonged periods, particularly when for some the court decision is a destruction order.
Dogs Trust welcomes “Dog Bail” regulations which were recently passed by DEFRA for dogs held under the Dangerous Dogs Act by police forces so that they can use these powers to allow suspected “dangerous dogs” to stay at home “on bail” with their owners pending a Contingent Destruction Order, providing they do not pose a threat to public safety. We appreciate that this may not have been deemed appropriate in the case of Stella. Dogs Trust is supportive of the “Dog Bail” move, as it could mean fewer dogs languishing in kennels with their welfare needs not being met.