Call for review of Dangerous Dogs Act after 30 years in force

Certain breeds of dog have to be put down by law if they enter care regardless of the animal’s temperament.

Call for review of Dangerous Dogs Act after 30 years in force iStock

Animal welfare campaigners have called for the Dangerous Dogs Act to be reviewed after 30 years as it forces them to euthanise certain breeds who come into care.

The Scottish SPCA says the legislation forces it to put down any Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro or American pit bull that it comes across regardless of the animal’s temperament or suitability for adoption.

The bill came into force on August 12 1991 but the charity says it is “not fit for purpose” and says parts should be scrapped so dogs are judged on “deeds not breeds”, meaning dogs would be put down only if they had attacked someone.

Members of the public should sign its petition asking for a review of it, the group said.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “While we fully support legislation to protect the public, we believe any breed of dog can be potentially out of control and dangerous in the wrong hands.

“We’d like to see a bigger focus on legislation that ensures responsible dog ownership rather than punishing individual dogs for the way they look if they haven’t harmed anyone.

“At the very least we’d like to see the law amended so banned breeds and types who come into our care can be rehomed.

“Our teams often care for these dogs for months or even years while waiting for court proceedings to conclude, only to have to put them to sleep as they can’t legally be adopted.

“Often these dogs have great temperaments and no behavioural issues but still need to be euthanised when, if they were any other breed, they’d be off to a loving home. It’s heart-breaking for everyone involved.”

Since 2013 the charity said it has had to euthanise 24 pit bulls who have come into its care after being identified as a banned type.

One, named Doyle, was cared for at the charity’s Lanarkshire rescue centre for 58 days before being put to sleep in November 2018.

Animal care assistant Mica Sinforiani said: “He loved running around with his toys but most of all he loved getting attention from the team. He took everything in his stride and adored every person and dog he met while he was here.

“It was absolutely devastating to have cared for Doyle for all that time only to have to put him to sleep.

“As a society, we never want to put a healthy animal down so it goes against all your instincts to take a perfectly happy, healthy dog who would do really well in a new adoptive home and euthanise them.

“Every time a dog comes in to the centre who is deemed to be a pit bull, it’s the same story and it’s so upsetting and distressing for the whole team.”

People can sign the charity’s “no bad breed” campaign petition at:

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