Deed Not Breed statement on the Government’s plan to ban the XL Bully

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

Owners of XL Bullies

Whilst we would like to be able to advise the many worried owners of the American Bully XL concerned about what happens next and the steps to take, we do not have enough information yet as to how the government intends to implement the ban, or if even an exemption scheme will form part of their plans. It would be unfair to cause any more confusion to owners already distraught at the news by giving out incorrect information.
Rest assured though that we and our legal advisors stand ready to scrutinise the government proposals as they become available and will publish advice as soon as we are in a position to do so when we are in possession of the facts. In the meantime we would advise that the owners of any breed of dog act responsibly, socialise and train their dogs to an acceptable standard (including to wear a muzzle) and ensure the equipment they use during exercise is fit for purpose and provides adequate control and prevents escape for example the use of martingale collars on dogs with necks wider than their heads, double leashes, and headcollars on strong or weighty breeds.

Lord Benyon, DEFRA Minister of State

Link to the discussion in the House of Lords held on the 14th September regarding amending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 along with the concerning comments from Lord Benyon the DEFRA Minister of State regarding Government intentions showing that its far from clear how they will implement their announced ban

A BBC interview with the UK Chief Veterinary Officer appears to confirm that there will be a period of amnesty for current owners of American Bully XL during which time owners will have to register their dogs and comply with the restrictions on prohibited breeds and that the exemption will be owner led as it was in 1991 stating, “Your dog will need to be neutered, it will need to be muzzled when out in public and on a lead, and insured.”
“But if you comply with these actions, and that means we will know where these dogs are, which will be a massive benefit, then yes absolutely you will be able to keep your dog”.
In light of this clarification we would strongly advise owners to prepare in advance by arranging neutering and becoming a member of Dogs Trust (which will include liability insurance which covers dogs defined under the Dangerous Dogs Act to a standard acceptable by the law) as soon as they are able. There is likely to be a huge demand for these services which is outside of the owners control but which must be undertaken before the end of the transition period

Helping calm your dog tonight

White noise – white noise is a combination of all of the different frequencies of sound. contains all frequencies, it is frequently used to mask other sounds. one way to think about it is two people are talking at the same time. Your brain can normally “pick out” one of the two voices and actually listen to it and understand it. If three people are talking simultaneously, your brain can probably still pick out one voice. However, if 1,000 people are talking simultaneously, there is no way that your brain can pick out one voice. 1,000 people talking at once is a lot like white noise. So when you turn on a radio off station to create white noise, you are essentially creating a source of 1,000 voices. Any additional outside noise makes it 1,001 voices, and your brain can no longer pick it out.

White noise machines can be bought and used to drown out outside sounds for a number of reasons for example to help babies have uninterrupted sleep as they are no longer disturbed by external every day sounds, to assist in people studying in noisy environments and also to help night shift workers achieve a deeper sleep by drowning out day time sounds such as barking dogs, neighbours, traffic, lawnmowers etc.

White noise also works with dogs. If you don’t have a white noise machine you can achieve a similar effect by turning on a radio in the room close to the dog and tuning it off station so that you just get the crackling sound, increasing and decreasing the volume to suit. Your own brain and the dog’s brain will get used to the sound quickly so that you barely notice it however the constant crackle will make other external sounds fade out. The sound of a fan whirring has the same effect but the volume of the white noise is not able to be controlled and it may not be as effective as a radio or white noise machine.

Effective herbal remedies for anxiety are:

Lemon Balm: It is a sedative herb that is quite effective in treating dog anxiety and excitability.

Chamomile: This is a miracle herb that reduces anxiety in dogs. It calms the nervous system of dogs as well as induces sleep. You can give your dog chamomile tea before a long drive or soak a treat in the tea.

Valerian: This herb reduces anxiety as well as tension and over-excitability in the dogs.

Oats: are one of the best nerve-calming herbs and nutritious as well. Some cooked oatmeal can be added to the meal of your dog. Give them porridge for tea Yes really! Oats are a natural calmer so adding cooked oats to your dogs food before it gets dark and the dogs begins to stress can reduce the anxiety he or she feels later. If you cook the oats up as a porridge using chamomile tea then the calming effect is increased.

Catnip: it is normally thought that catnip is used for cats only. But, your dog can also benefit from catnip. This herb has a soothing sedative effect on dogs. You can just sprinkle a little bit of catnip in your dogs food.

St John’s Wort: a tonic plant that is used in to treat anxiety problem

Jasmine: has a calming effect and can be used in an oil humidifier/diffuser

Green tea leaves: contain amino acids that are quite effective to induce a state of relaxation.

Classic FM are also broadcasting Pet sounds tonight from 7pm having liaised with the RSPCA about how to best help owners and their pets to cope with fireworks click here for more information.

Cedric

After 12 long months in kennels and lengthy proceedings, Cedric the Bullmastiff will be going home following a successful statutory defence argument expertly put to the court by the fabulous Kathryn Jamieson-Sinclair resulting in a not guilty verdict. We wish Cedric and his owner all the best for the future

IMPORTANT – OWNERS OF REGISTERED DOGS

Please ensure that not only is your insurance up to date but also that you have sent confirmation of this to Defra. There are a huge number of potential insurances breaches currently and should you be one then your dog may be seized and put back before the court as no longer exempt due to non compliance with the exemption order This could result in your dog being ordered to be destroyed by the court if the court believe the breach to indicate that your non compliance makes you not a fit and proper person.

Please also ensure that DEFRA are informed regarding any other notifiable changes required by the exemption rules it is not worth the risk to your dog.

Dangerous Dogs Act – the response

The Government’s response to the Efra committee on the Dangerous Dogs Act

Neil Parish MP, the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, has commented on the Government’s response to the Controlling Dangerous Dogs Report:

“This is a welcome move towards improving the effectiveness of dog control as current laws and the breed ban have not stemmed the rising tide of injuries and deaths from dog attacks. The Committee looked at the effectiveness of breed specific legislation and identified several areas for improvement to protect the public more effectively.

“We’re pleased that the Government has committed to commissioning research to review the effectiveness of current dog control measures, such as working with the Metropolitan Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council to set up a central dog attack database, and to developing a childhood education plan. Children have suffered horrific, and in some cases, avoidable injuries. This is unacceptable when simple education could prevent life changing injuries.

“However, there is much more work to be done to create a truly fair system. There must be more focus on the owner and not the breed. The destruction of a dog based purely on its breed is cruel and often unnecessary.

“Although the Government recognises the importance of improving how dangerous dogs are identified and controlled, today’s response is not a solution, but is a step in the right direction.

“The Committee look forward to hearing from David Rutley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Food and Animal Welfare, on 6 February.

“This will present a great opportunity to discuss a range of topics, including how Defra plans incorporate the Committee’s recommendations on dangerous dogs and make the system better for everyone, owner and canine alike.”

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvfru/1892/1892.pdf

Good news before Christmas

Back in March we were contacted by the owner of Mr Sprinkles and Babushka who was looking to relocate to the UK from America. She wanted further advice regarding some information she had been given prior to contacting us. Obviously, we advised her accordingly and we were thrilled to receive the news that both Mr Sprinkles and Babushka are now home with their families.

Likewise in September, we were contacted by the owner of Jazzi who was currently in the UK but her partner was still in the States with Jazzi. She had also made preliminary enquiries about bringing her into the country and was left feeling quite worried about the responses she had received, so contacted us. Again, we were able to advise and we’re pleased to say that Jazzi is also now in the UK.

We hope we have, in some small way, helped to make what is a very stressful situation a little easier for the families and that they have a great Christmas and we wish them all the best for the New Year and their future in the UK

Blackpool MP speaks out against BSL