Dog ‘type’ not the same as ‘breed

With the anniversary of the Dangerous Dogs Act upon us again still one of the most often asked questions of the breed specific part of the act to a bystander or a novice is regarding the concept of ‘type’ being different than breed.

This means that many individual dogs either of breeding unrecognised in the UK, those which more closely match the ADBA working standard than their own show breed standard, or crossbreeds in the UK regardless as to their parentage can fall within the definition of a banned breed type.

This does not mean every dog of that breeding will be type and, indeed, often some puppies from the same litter and mating will be type whilst others are not. However the high court ruling made 24 years ago in Regina v Knightsbridge Crown Court, ex parte Dunne. Brock v Director of Public Prosecutions has certainly affected many more people and pet dogs than most people expected would be the case at the time.

Linked below is the original report from that case for anyone interested in how the Dangerous Dogs Act has evolved over the years from what was originally written in 1991 due to cases which have been determined in the high courts.

High court cases set precedents and tweak laws which is why care has to be taken before asking questions of the high court, to be sure to look at the bigger picture as the answers given may not be the ones expected or wanted and may well impact on other dogs adversely in the future.

Warning regarding companies offering DNA testing for pitbulls!

Please be aware of a DNA test being advertised offering an “exemption” DNA test to show that your dog is not a Pit Bull “which can be used in court or with any agency” they also imply that the dogs in the attached photograph have had their test applied saying “Here are a set of images taken of dogs that some may consider a “pit bull” based on physical characteristics. Based on our test, the only dog with significant pit bull terrier is picture #3. This dog according to our test is only 12% pit bull.” The attached image is from a quiz published on the blog site “The truth about Pit Bulls” in April 2011 and the dog they refer to as the Pit Bull (#3) is actually an Alapaha blue blood bulldog. The Pit Bull is actually the red dog at #16 which we guess says it all really

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Supporting Roxy – Supporting Responsible Dog Ownership

A Skelmersdale dog owner is fighting to keep her family pet dog Roxy, after council officials refuse to let Roxy continue to live in her council property.

On 7th March Roxys Owner, Sophie attended a microchipping event run by Dogs Trust. Whilst there, Sophie was approached by Phillipa Sandall, Dog Control Enforcement Officer for West Lancashire Borough Council. Ms Sandall informed Sophie that she had no doubt Roxy was a pit bull and that she would be contacting the police. Further, she told Sophie that she could not get Roxy microchipped and she should go home to wait for the police there.

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Exempted dogs’ insurance

Owners of registered dogs, please ensure that you renew your insurance on time. Failure to do so causes you dog to become unexmpt and can lead your dog to be re-seized and you being put back before the court. This will incur costs far in excess of the insurance renewal fee and may well result in the court deciding that your failure to comply indicates that you are not ‘a fit and proper person’ to won an exempted dog and ordering destruction on that basis.

Each force area deals with renewal failures differently and police policies change regularly without notice. Just because, when you have beena few days late in the past you have not had difficulty, or been given a few days in which to renew, or not been visited at all, does not mean that it won’t happen. The ONLY way to ensure you are not in this position is to ensure you do not let your insurance lapse for even a day.

We have been increasingy contacted bu owners in the GREATER MANCHESTER force area whose dogs have been re-seized and who are now faving court action for breach of insurance leading them to be in possession of a non exempt dog; some of these are only days out of date. This appears to reflect a change in how things used to be dealt with in the area so anyone who knows anyone with an exempt dog in this, or indeed any area, please point out the importance of renewing the insurance and informed DEFRA on time. Their dogs lives depend on them complying with the exemption

Health insurance for exempted dogs

We have been in touch with Brookes Braithwaite again regarding their health insurance for exempted dogs.
The premiums now range from £200 to £500 depending on what information is contained on the clients application form. It is worth bearing in mind that this does NOT give you the third party liability insurance that is also needed. This can still be obtained by purchasing a Dogs Trust membership at £25 per year

Francis – a statement by Trevor Cooper

Below is a statement from good friend and colleague Trevor Cooper who as a result of the case of Battersea dog Francis has been subjected to the most vile and disgusting abuse in the last 24 hours by facebook lawyers who clearly do not understand the law relating to strays.
We are absolutely appalled at the abuse that has been levelled at an organization whose aim was to highlight the flaws in the Dangerous Dogs Act in an effort to change it and which is now being levelled at their legal advisor who also happens to be the leading dog law solicitor in the country (and in our opinion entirely correct)

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Dogs thought to be type and the internet

If you suspect that your dog may be type no amount of posting pictures and inviting opinion on the internet will make things any clearer in fact in all likelihood you will end up more confused than ever (especially when faced with kindly intended but incorrect suggestions that your dog is a Weimaraner cross when you know for a fact your dog has never even seen a weimaraner from across the road let alone been born of one).

A dog cannot be typed definitively from a photograph by anyone, experts included, its not true that the law is simply about the way a dog looks though obviously if the dog does not give the first impression that it resembles a dog of type it isn’t one. The ADBA standard focuses on the ability of a dog to do the job of a fighting dog and any faults it has related to its ability, agility, or stamina will have greater impact on a dogs type that those which are cosmetic only. Photographs can also be deceiving with a dog looking different on practically every one.

It will most likely be suggested if you post online that your dog has been seized, that you set up a support group and start a petition. Petitions are only of use if they are government ones related to the law itself, petitioning for the return of a specific dog to either the police, councils, or to the court are of no use in getting your dog back. The police or council will not release a dog they believe is a banned breed because a petition asks them to.

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Four dogs to be released this week

Two who were on section three charges with the first being released by the court and the second after a caution, the third being a dog found to be type several weeks ago and given exemption only for it to be discovered not to be type at all and a control order being issued instead.

The fourth was dealt with by our fabulous solicitor, Kathryn, and should have been a simple substitution of person in charge but thanks to legal argument was changed to a fresh application which was granted. Huge thanks to Kathryn who was clearly wearing her wonder woman pants.

Its been a funny old week

Exempt dogs application form

DNB’s original director, Mel Page, contacted DEFRA regarding the application form for owners of exempted dogs:

I wrote to DEFRA a while ago regarding some concerns I had with the information on the Exempted dogs application form:
Re: Dangerous Dogs Act Section 1. Conditions of Exemption.
After studying the DEFRA application for certificate of exemption and a further telephone call to the Dogs Index, I am seeking answers to the following questions:

  • Where in the Act does it state that a person must be aged 18 or over to own an exempted dog?
  • The Act states that an exempted dog must be controlled by a person aged 16 or over thereby implying that a person must be 16 or over to own such a dog. Page 2 of your form, the ‘Declaration’ states ‘I am over 18 years of age’ which implies that a person under the age of 18 may not own such a dog. The form also states that a person must be over 18 to obtain appropriate third party liability insurance. This is incorrect. Dogs Trust accept members from the age of 16 and as you will be aware provide appropriate third party liability insurance as part of their membership scheme.
  • Where in the Act does it stipulate the length of lead that an exempted dog must be walked on?
  • Your form states that the length of lead must be less than 2 metres, yet the Act states that an exempted dog must be held securely on a fixed lead. There is no mention of length as far as I can determine.
  • I am unable to find any reference to the size of tattoo in the Act, although I am aware of a Home Office Circular stating that the letters and numbers should be at least 10mm in height. I wonder if you could tell me where in the Act there is any mention of the required sizes for tattoos for exempted dogs?

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Exemption changes

We are sure there will be other points that spring to mind as we digest the information

There is still the 2 months time limit on contingency orders in order to comply with the rules of exemption however it is now clearly stated that the dog will no longer be exempt if the requirements attached to the certificate of exemption are not complied with at any time after the certificate is issued, clarifying that breach of conditions will make your dog illegal again.

Tattooing has been removed from the conditions and replaced with microchipping. And you now have to provide access to the dog for the purpose of reading a microchip on request by a person specified in section 5(1)

It is now clarified that you now have five days to produce confirmation of insurance when requested to do so which matches the five days to produce already given to produce the certificate of exemption.

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