RSPCA welcomes findings of inquiry into Breed Specific Legislation

The RSPCA has welcomed the announcement that the EFRA Committee’s report is calling for a full-scale review of current dog control legislation and policy.

The RSPCA has been calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in protecting public safety and dog welfare since August 2016.

The charity’s high profile #EndBSL campaign called on the UK government to review Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) 1991 which, under BSL, prohibits the ownership of four types of dogs: pitbull terrier, fila Brasiliero, dogo Argentino, Japenese tosa.

Over 84,000 people have supported the #EndBSL campaign and the need for a different approach.

The report released by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee, today is calling on the UK government to remove the ban on rehoming these banned types to new owners as currently t results in the unnecessary euthanasia of good-tempered dogs that could have been safely rehomed.

It also asks for an independent review into the factors affecting dog aggression, and a new Dog Control Act to facilitate early intervention in dog incidents, as well as better education for children and dog owners.

The RSPCA’s dog welfare specialist, Dr Samantha Gaines, said: “BSL has been failing to protect public safety for 27 years and countless dogs have suffered or died because of this unfit and draconian law. We first called for a parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of BSL in 2016 and are delighted with the outcome of EFRA’s report today.

“Our own research has shown that there is a lack of scientific evidence to support BSL and positive evidence against it. We fully support the call for a comprehensive review of dog control legislation and policy and are confident that the outcome will be one which recommends breed neutral legislation.

“We have long called for reform and consolidation of dog control legislation and the introduction of genuine early intervention and prevention measures such as Dog Control Notices, as well as education to ensure high risk behaviour towards dogs is avoided. We therefore welcome the call for a single Dog Control Act, dedicated dog control notices and education programmes.”

Dr Gaines, who heads the RSPCA’s companion animals’ department, added: “The RSPCA is particularly encouraged to see recommendations to reduce kennelling times. Dogs affected by BSL can spend weeks and even months in kennels awaiting a decision on their fate and many find kennel environments difficult to cope with.

“We and other welfare charities are also affected by this law as every year we have to needlessly euthanise many friendly dogs simply because of how they look, which is absolutely heart-breaking for our staff who have cared for them. We are therefore especially pleased that the ban on rehoming or prohibited types of dogs is being recommended for immediate removal.

“We now look forward to the UK government acting upon these recommendations so that public safety and welfare is protected.”

For further information, you can see the RSPCA’s report here.