Peaceful protests have taken place in London, Coventry and Cardiff to highlight the injustices of breed specific legislation. The failed law, which was introduced 26 years ago, sees dogs lose lives because of how they look rather than act.
The UK joined Germany and Canada in a united global day of peaceful protests, rallies and awareness days to speak out against the law.
The Westminster protest was a grass-roots gathering, with volunteers present who actively campaign and support innocent dogs and their families being torn apart by breed specific legislation on a daily basis. It also put faces to the names of dogs who have lost their lives in recent years.
Maria Daines, a Director of DDA Watch, a campaign group which helps support dogs and families affected by the law was one of the event organisers. She said, “It is high time breed specific legislation was at least extensively debated in parliament with a view to repealing section 1 (DDA) which has proven over 26 years to be ineffective, unfair and cruel to the dogs and families affected by it.
“Education (as opposed to prohibitive legislation) is necessary and helps to keep dog owners, the public and canine companions safe; Banning, restricting and killing dogs that look a certain way is ridiculously outdated, heartbreaking for many and a waste of public money. In 2017, we can and should be doing much better for our canine friends, their families, the public and those who work with dogs, including stray and rescue dogs.”
Danes was joined by dog lovers who had travelled across the UK to add their voice and take a stand for innocent dogs calling for a repeal of a failed piece of legislation that targets types of dogs and condemns them as ‘dangerous’ based on their physical appearance.
Judge dogs on how they act, not look
Perhaps speaking to the fact that part of the objection to the Dangerous Dogs Act as it is now is the life threatening impact to dogs purely because of their looks rather than actions, the event was attended by some of the UK’s most well known dog trainers and behaviourists including Robert Alleyne, Jordan Shelley, Robert Stuhldreer and veterinary surgeon and animal behaviourist Dr Kendal Shepherd.
A Staffie named ‘Whippet’, a Battersea Dogs Home Ambassadog came along to support the event wearing a special pink coat with the words ‘Breed Specific Legislation Murders My Friends’. She was joined by another supporter who was dressed as the ‘Grim Reaper’ with a message for Defra, the organisation who overseas the law in action, attached to the black outfit which said ‘I am Breed Specific Legislation’ and gave out information leaflets to those passing the Parliamentary buildings.
Photo Credit: DDA Watch Ltd
Remembering those who have lost lives to breed specific legislation in the UK
As well as highlighting the ineffective law, the event highlighted stories of dogs who have lost their lives over the last 26 years sending personal messages to the British government in the process.
Dogs remembered included Blitz, an innocent dog who was imprisoned on death row for two and a half years, as well as Reggie and Tyson.
Lennox was also given a voice. He was a victim from Northern Ireland whose death five years ago sparked global outrage and condemnation, bringing the injustices of the legislation to the attention of thousands of people across the world and leaving a legacy of hope that disastrous BSL will one day end.
A dog named Paul was also remembered, heartbreakingly his casket of ashes was brought to the protest to show the end result of many dogs affected by this harsh and unfair legislation. Paul had lost his life in 2015 and campaigners shed tears as his casket was placed in remembrance at the event.
Two supporters from Devon held up their placard for a much loved dog named Sky who is held incarcerated and caught up in a legal nightmare due to BSL.
Sky’s story is heartbreaking since she was seized after being abandoned by her owner (read it here).
Two thousand flyers were given out to spread the word and raise awareness to what breed specific legislation is.
Watch the video to hear about the history of the law: