The RSPCA has slammed the Government for not doing enough to change breed-specific legislation within the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991), which, it says, is leading to “persecution of dogs based on their physical appearance”.

The RSPCA has claimed the Government is “dragging its heels” over its promises to reform dog control legislation, while calling on members of the public to write to their MP to ensure DEFRA does not “sweep the subject under the carpet”.

The RSPCA's Claire Robinson speaks to reporter Declan Lawn on BBC One's The One ShowThe animal welfare charity insists – despite two public consultations on dangerous dogs being carried out since March 2010 as well as the ongoing Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRACom) inquiry into dog health and welfare – the lack of changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991) since 1997 is causing a “persecution of dogs based on their physical appearance” that it says is “unacceptable“.

The statement follows a feature on BBC One’s The One Show on Monday (October 8, 2012), in which the RSPCA’s government relations manager, Claire Robinson, highlighted the failures of current legislation.

“The RSPCA is no stranger to campaigns raising the injustice of the Dangerous Dogs Act,” she said, calling it a law that acted as “judge, jury and, all too often, executioner of dogs that are guilty of nothing more than matching a list of physical measurements“.

Ms Robinson said many non-dangerous dogs are being put down just because they conform to a certain breed“More than 70% of people who responded to DEFRA’s consultation in 2010 said they believed breed specific legislation should be repealed, while a massive 88% said they don’t think the current law is working.

“Yet here we are, more than two years down the line, and nothing has changed, while thousands of dogs are still being abandoned and abused by irresponsible owners each year.”

However, the charity said all was not lost. Ms Robinson said: “If members of the public show enough strength of feeling by contacting their MPs, there is still a chance that people power could see a change in the law for the better. It could not only help protect the general population, but improve animal welfare as well.”

The next EFRACom session takes place at 3pm on October 17 at the House of Commons. Visit the Government’s website for more information, or visit DEFRA’s website for more information on the consultation into irresponsible dog ownership.

Images © BBC/The One Show
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