We have waited before releasing a statement, because we were hoping that there would be some clarity into what exactly is planned and how this is to be implemented, however it seems that, as with the knee jerk reaction in 1991 when the DDA was introduced, that the Government have again reacted without proper consideration despite the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 since it’s inception regularly being held up in Parliament as one of the worst pieces of legislation ever written. Sadly for those of us who were around in 1991 when the DDA was introduced the nightmare begins again.
It goes without saying that Deed Not Breed are devastated at this decision because in our opinion it will not protect the public as those owners who want a dog for the wrong reasons, be that for money, protection, or status, will simply move on to another breed or type of dog and the problem will, in our opinion, simply recur but with other types not currently prohibited , with those XL Bully owners who are responsible owners being the ones who are punished despite not being the problem and the horrific attacks by dogs seen recently will continue to increase. Essentially that is the reason we are in the situation we are in now.
Dog related incidents are increasing year on year, and fatal incidents too are increasing devastating families and communities alike.
Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) exists to scrutinise the administration, spending and policy of the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and in 2018 invited submissions for an inquiry regarding the control of dangerous dogs. Deed Not Breed, along with many dog related groups, vets, welfare organisations, and charities, submitted responses and EFRA reported their findings in a report to Government, which was largely pushed into the long grass and in light of the recent decision made to ban another breed type, seemingly also without having even been read.
We now refer the Government back to this report and the submissions from which it came to its decision and implore them to take note of its findings now five years on, with dog bites still rising rapidly before lurching into another kneejerk reaction that will simply be akin to fixing a leaky tap in a burning building.
The findings of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s 2018 inquiry showed that the current dangerous dogs legislation fails to protect public safety and can harm animal welfare. The EFRA report recommended instead, “a comprehensive review of existing dog control legislation and policy,” and spoke of the need for an alternative dog control model
“that focuses on prevention though education, early intervention, and consistently robust sanctions for offenders”.
It is time to consolidate dog laws into one workable piece of legislation and concentrate on prevention rather than punishment after the event, after all punishment does not heal wounds or bring back lost family members. and breed bans do not reduce dog related incidents, however responsible owners of all breeds and types who control their dogs and provide the correct environment, socialisation and training will. Owning a dog should be a privilege earned by responsibility not an automatic right.
Here is the link to the EFRA findings and to Deed Not Breed’s own submission which, five years on, we still stand by wholeheartedly. We will be watching closely to see if the Government do the same down the line about the decisions they are making now and whether any measures taken by them have any impact at all on reducing dog attacks, we suspect not