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Repeal Section One of the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) 1991

Comment 4th February 2016

This law says that certain dogs are subject to additional restrictions,  based on their appearance (not breeding or temperament).  As a result of the 1997 amendment to this act, owners may keep their dogs if they are of an illegal 'type' if they go through an emotionally distressing and expensive legal process.  Dogs of this type cannot be rehomed. 

Why I think this law should be removed

  •  It has failed to do what it was supposed to do (restrict ownership of dangerous dogs), 
  • It is unscientific and badly expressed, so it is difficult for people to know if they are breaking it. 
  • it has wasted a great deal of police time and money,  
  • it has caused hardship to animals and owners
  • it creates a confusion in the public mind between a dog that is dangerous, and a dog that is an illegal shape
  • It puts owners who are unable to keep a dog as a result of genuine financial hardship or illness into an impossible situation, and also forces rescue workers and volunteers into a position where they can easily end up on the wrong side of the law. 

Dogs that are an illegal shape

  • may have responsible owners and be highly trained
  • may not have been deliberately purchased: it's impossible to tell if a puppy will be illegal when he grows up
  • may be crosses between legal breeds such as labrador, Boxer, staffordshire bull terrier
  • can only be confirmed as illegal by an expensive legal process involving expert witnesses. 

This law is unfair, because it targets a shape of dog that is probably more likely to be owned by people who are already relatively poor and marginalised.  Government by consent is seriously damaged when the police seize well trained and well behaved family pets.

Why does this matter?

Repealing this law would save money, as the police would no longer need to kennel dogs while their status is decided. 

Repealing this law would be kinder to children and animals : for example: 

Repealing this law would help resolve the public confusion between illegal dogs and dangerous dogs, thus helping with public safety and allowing police resources to be concentrated on dogs that are actually causing problems.

Repealing this law would make dogs that are of an illegal shape less desirable to irresponsible owners who consider illegality to confer glamour. 

Government by consent is seriously damaged when the police seize well trained and well behaved family pets.

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