The British Veterinary Association has expressed its support for an independent report on dog health and welfare that calls for a move away from breed-specific legislation, which the BVA says fails to protect humans and animals.
The report, by Professor Patrick Bateson of Cambridge University, focuses on the welfare issues relating to the breeding of dogs and includes recommendations that “the Dangerous Dogs Act should be amended to apply to all dogs that have been shown to be dangerous rather than to specified breeds and should address the problem of dogs being bred and reared specifically as weapons for fighting.”
The report adds fuel to the calls by the veterinary community, Kennel Club and animal-welfare charities that new legislation is needed to tackle the growing problem of “weapon dogs,” the BVA says. Currently, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans ownership of certain dog breeds in England, Wales and Scotland without court exemption. Often public money is used to kennel non-aggressive seized dogs while their breed is determined.
According to the BVA, this causes suffering for the dog and its owners. It also ignores the fact that any animal can become aggressive and dangerous and can lead to a false sense that non-banned dogs are safe, the BVA adds.
Nicky Paull, past president of the BVA, says tackling this issue must be a priority.