I was listening to the Today programme on Radio 4 recently and an item on it prompts me to write this. 

Apparently the police, particularly in the major cities, are seizing thousands of dogs annually which are suspected of being banned breeds and this results in enormous cost in kennelling them whilst their owners argue in the courts, again at great cost, that they are not a banned breed and/or are not dangerous for whatever reason. Meanwhile the number of incidents where these dogs attack people and/or are used effectively as an offensive weapon by their loutish owners continues to increase. 

This situation could be resolved at a stroke by changing the way the Act works. In practical terms it would probably be simpler to repeal the Act and replace it with a new version in order to achieve this.

There are essentially two aspects to this matter. Firstly that there needs to be a list of proscribed breeds as there is a present because, whatever platitudes are said about there being no such thing as a bad dog except a bad owner, some breeds are simply too potentially dangerous to be kept. Secondly, again as at present, a general prohibition on any dog being dangerously out of control.

In reality decent people tend to have well-behaved dogs. It is the yobs whom one sees on any city street with depressing regularity strutting along with some snarling animal who are causing the problem both in terms of public safety, cost when the police seize the creatures and more cost as their owners then clog up the court system arguing that 'Tyson' or whatever it is called is either not a banned breed and/or not dangerous.  

Most of this could be resolved simply by re-defining whether a dog is banned by changing the law so that as well as banning the breed any dog which was deemed to be a part-breed of the banned breed was also banned. Who is best placed to decide that? Vets. 

A procedure could be introduced whereby there could be a system of police vets in the same way as there are police surgeons. In other words independent practitioners who agree to be on a list to attend a police station if called by an officer. Upon seizing a dog the police could simply take it to the station and call up the duty vet who could come down to determine whether the dog was a banned breed or had elements of that breed in it. If he decided that it was he could put it down on the spot.

It might be said that this seems harsh, which it is, and that the owner should have a right to argue his dog's identity as they do at length at present in the courts but a moment's reflection demonstrates that this is simply unnecessary. A dog is what it is and no amount of representations will change that in the same way as if one were to ban a certain make of car or any cars which had parts of it in them. It is simply a matter of objective fact which a vet could easily determine – cue howls of anguish from 'expert' dog breed witnesses who currently make a living giving the courts the benefit of their views on behalf of owners. The matter could be determined within hours of the seizure.

There will still be the case of dogs which are not banned but are dangerously out of control. They essentially require a judgement on the evidence offered to support the claim so the courts could remain the proper forum for that. Again looking at reality, if one dealt with the 'breed problem' as suggested one suspects that the numbers here would end up being relatively few.



Why is this idea important?

To save time and cost in dealing with the problem of dangerous dogs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *