Parliament announces inquiry into ineffective Dangerous Dogs Act

The RSPCA has today welcomed an inquiry by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee into the current legislation on dangerous dogs.

The announcement comes almost two years after the RSPCA launched its high profile #EndBSL campaign, calling on the UK Government to review Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) 1991, which under Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), prohibits the ownership of our types of dogs; pitbull terrier, fila Basiliero, dogo Argentino, Japanese tosa.

Today, EFRA has launched an inquiry into this legislation following considerable about the effectiveness of banning dogs based on their breed or type.

Data collected by the RSPCA has shown that of 37 people who have died in the UK in dog-related incidents since 1991, 28 involved breeds/types not prohibited by law.

More than 67,000 people have signed the RSPCA’s #EndBSL petition – calling for the launch of an inquiry – and organisations around the world have stood side-by-side with the charity.

RSPCA dog welfare expert and lead author of the charity’s report – Breen Specific Legislation: A Dog’s Dinner – Dr Samantha Gaines welcomed the move: “We are really pleased that Parliament has listened to the concerns raised by us and dozens of other animal welfare charities and organisations, not only here in the UK but also around the world.

“Launching this inquiry is an important step towards the ultimate goal of our #EndBSL campaign – to repeal section 1 of the law and replace it with legislation that not only better protects dog welfare in this country, but also effectively protects public safety.

“There is no scientific evidence basis to BSL,” Dr Gaines added. “There’s no robust scientific evidence to suggest the types that are banned pose a heightened risk to the public compared to other types. The simple fact here is that the way a dog looks is not a predictor of whether he or she is a risk or is likely to be aggressive.

“Aggression is a much more complex behaviour than that and any dog, regardless of its breed or type, has the potential to be dangerous if they are not properly bred, reared or given the right experiences in life.”

The RPSCA will now be working on a submission for the Committee’s consultation and will continue to work tirelessly to bring about a change in law.