Opinion Former Article

Dogs Trust welcomes a new approach to dangerous dogs

Dogs Trust welcomes the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill which has now completed stage three of its passage through the Scottish parliament.

The Bill, put forward by Christine Grahame MSP champions the principle of 'deed not breed', and provides local authorities with greater powers to impose penalties on irresponsible owners.

Dogs Trust 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, as a member of the Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group (DDASG), along with a variety of other welfare organisations, the Kennel Club and the BVA, has supported Ms Grahame's Bill since it was introduced as a Private Members Bill by Alex Neill MSP.

Dogs Trust believes that the issue of dangerous dogs is a social problem and that any solution must address the problem of dangerous owners. The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill highlights the responsibility of the owners to prevent dog attacks to protect the public and places less emphasis on the breed of dog. Dogs Trust does not consider Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) to be effective, and fully supported the amendment lodged by Patricia Ferguson MSP which removed the reference to a dogs' 'size and power' when assessing whether or not the animal is out of control. The Bill does stop short of a complete repeal of BSL. BSL has not prevented dog attacks, nor has it eradicated the Pit Bull in the UK despite having devastating consequences for some breed-types.

Clarissa Baldwin, Dogs Trust CEO commented:

"Whilst Dogs Trust is extremely supportive of the Bills intention and considers this an excellent start to addressing a national problem, there is more to be done. Dogs Trust would like to see the next UK Government introducing the compulsory microchipping of dogs, taking action to address the worrying trend in bull-breed type dogs in urban areas, and implementing a cross-departmental approach to education on responsible dog ownership."

-ENDS-

For further press information, or interview requests then please contact:

Sinead Scott-lennon, Deputy Head of Communications
Tel 020 7833 7650
Email: sinead.scott-lennon@dogstrust.org.uk

Notes to Editor

. The slogan "A dog is for life not just for Christmas®" was the brainchild of Dogs Trust Chief Executive Clarissa Baldwin and is a registered trademark.

. Dogs Trust is the UK's leading dog welfare charity and has a network of 17 Rehoming Centres across the UK. The charity cares for over 16,000 stray, unwanted and abandoned dogs each year.

. Dogs Trust has a non-destruction policy, and will never put a healthy dog to sleep. The charity is working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.

DDASG:

DDASG includes representation from: Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, British Veterinary Association, the Kennel Club, the Metropolitan Police, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, RSPCA, Wandsworth Borough Council and Wood Green Animal Shelters.

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