Blog #5 – BSL = BS

The 12th of August this year will mark the 28th anniversary of the Breed Specific Legislation in the UK where four breeds; American Pit Bull Terrier, Tosa Inu, Fila Brasileiro & Dogo Argentino were all banned over night.

The thought of it actually makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t imagine the amount of healthy and good tempered dogs that have been killed because of the legislation that was passed by people who know little to nothing about the four breeds they decided to ban in 1991.

What confuses me is that two of the breeds, the Dogo Argentino & Fila Brasileiro were created and used solely for big game hunting and farm work and not for fighting as the government claimed. The other interesting point is that there is no record of any Fila Brasileiro dog having ever stepped foot on British soil before 1991, how can a breed be banned without having done anything wrong in the first place?

The ‘Dangerous Dogs Act’ was put in place to lower the amount of dog attacks in the UK. This has not happened, in fact going by government figures, dog bites are increasing every year at a rate of about 6% since the law has been in place. What’s worrying is that hundreds of dogs are put to sleep every year in the UK due to their breed or type but yet less than 1/3 of all dog attacks in the UK are by banned breeds. The other interesting fact, is that over the last few years the most horrific dog attacks were done by non bull breeds but yet these attacks got little to no media exposure. This is because It’s the bull breeds that make the headlines and sell papers…

As it stands at the moment, any dog seized under the ‘BSL’ can not be rehomed, even if it is deemed good natured and social with people and other dogs. This is ludicrous and it’s something that several animal groups have been trying to change over the years but to this day to no avail yet.

I was happy to read in a recent article that the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee stated that “an independent review should be launched into the reasons for dog attacks and aggression, and it should examine whether banned breeds pose an inherently greater threat. If such a review found they did not, then the law should be changed, they said. The report also recommends the government undertake a comprehensive review of the laws and policy on dangerous dogs, and support an alternative model focusing on prevention of attacks through education, early intervention and robust sanctions. Mandatory training and education courses should also be introduced for minor dog offences, similar to speed awareness courses for drivers, the committee said. It recommended a new “dog control act” be introduced to consolidate the existing patchwork of legislation, with dedicated dog control notices to allow for early intervention in incidents.”

It’s about time a bit of common sense is applied to what must be one of the worse laws ever passed in the UK. With the exception of a handful of dogs, time, care, patience, training and early socialisation is more than enough for any breed of dog to succeed in the right household. In return what every dog needs is an owner that is educated in the breed that they have bought and has a certain amount of common sense in how to handle and prevent certain incidents from happening and even escalating.

I have been saying the following for years, but I’ll say it again, I hope that the government bring an end to BSL sooner rather than later as more than enough helpless and scared dogs have paid the price with their lives for the errors of us humans.

I hope that all of the innocent victims rest in peace and run free in the rainbow bridge.

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