With hopes of ending breed specific legislation in the UK, dog lovers and animal organisations alike have welcomed a motion unanimously agreed by members of the London Assembly to request a formal review into the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
The London Assembly agreed with a motion calling on the Mayor to write to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to request a formal review of the act, brought in 25 years ago.
The RSPCA, who launched a campaign earlier this year calling on the Government to hold an inquiry into the effectiveness of the law believes part of the act – which uses breed specific legislation to prohibit owning four breeds and types of dog – Pit bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro – has failed to protect public safety and is seriously compromising dog welfare.
Something echoed by other organisations across the globe who have seen breed specific legislation implemented with no decrease in dog attacks, in fact in Toronto, Canada dog attacks have risen.
Speaking about the members of London Assembly’s decision to request a formal review into the DDA 1991, RSPCA senior parliamentary advisor, Rachel Williams, said: “Breed specific legislation is a piece of outdated and ineffective legislation which urgently needs reviewing, repealing and replacing with something which better protects the safety of the public as well as considering the welfare of dogs in this country.
“Currently, breed specific legislation means that a well-rounded, well-behaved, much-loved family pet which has never shown any signs of aggression can be torn from his home and everything he knows and could face being put to sleep simply for looking a certain way.
She continued, “Ultimately, we’d like to see this part of the Dangerous Dogs Act repealed and replaced with legislation which deals with dogs on an individual case-by-case basis and does not penalise dogs simply for the way the look.
Assembly Member Steve O’Connell, who proposed the motion, said: “This is about recognising the current policies designed to protect people from dangerous dogs are not fit for purpose, as well as improving animal welfare standards.
“It’s important that, if the current system is not working, we look at other ways of handling what is a growing problem.
“The consequences for victims of a dog attack can be devastating and I hope the relevant authorities take note of our motion.”
Add your voice to the RSPCA’s petition calling on the Government to review the law here