Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has called on the Government to review the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act in light of new research.
The charity’s report, Dog Bites: what’s breed got to do with it? marks the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the 1991 act, which outlawed four breeds of dogs from the UK:
- pit bull terrier
- Dogo Argentino
- Japanese Tosa
- Fila Brasiliero
Battersea and many other animal welfare organisations have long opposed Section 1 of the 1991 act that judges a dog on its looks not its behaviour, and can see them destroyed if deemed by the police to be a banned breed.
As published in the charity’s report, a survey of 215 of the UK’s professional canine behaviour experts found:
- 74% of participants said breed was either irrelevant or only slightly important in determining dog aggression levels
- the four breeds of dog outlawed by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 were not directly identified as being the most frequently aggressive
Further, the charity says there is “little evidence” the act has reduced dog attacks or been successful in eradicating the pit bull terrier in the UK.
Last year Battersea took in 91 pit bull terrier types, confirming the breeding and sale of these animals is still going on.
Battersea’s chief executive Claire Horton said: “This new research by Battersea sets out the failings of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in focusing on how a dog looks, rather than on anything it has done or the actions of its owner.
“There are of course some dangerous dogs on our streets but for a quarter of a century this legislation has condemned too many innocent dogs to be put to sleep, while systematically failing to reduce dog attacks in our communities.
“Battersea is dismayed that this outdated, knee-jerk piece of legislation is still on the statute books. There is a clear need to replace it with a law that targets irresponsible owners.”
- Read Battersea’s full report, Dog Bites: what’s breed got to do with it?