Feb 12 2007

Local Press Anti Dog Campaign – Owners Living In Fear

The Liverpool Echo is running a campaign to coincide with the controversial dog amnesty to encourage people to contact the authorities if they suspect a neighbour to be keeping an illegal dog.

The campaign, which has been slammed by nearly all animal welfare groups as being a catch all, knee jerk reaction which lets dogs take the punishment for the actions of criminals who import banned breeds, has been put in place as a reaction to dog bite incidents in the Merseyside area, compounded by the death of Ellie Lawrenson on New Year’s day in St. Helens.

A 31 year old woman rang K9 Magazine earlier today to ask for our help, as she believed her neighbours were starting a whispering campaign about her and her Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

The woman, from Maghull on Merseyside, asked not to be named in order to not draw attention to herself, told us.

“I bought the dog from a breeder, it is registered with the Intercontinental Kennel Club, has all the vaccinations and is only 11 weeks old. I’ve only just started taking her out for walks, but now I daren’t as I worry that she may be taken from me and destroyed.

I am an experienced dog owner, I have a Golden Retriever as well as my Staffy and have them both well trained. I don’t know what to do, whether to muzzle her to send out a message of being responsible, but I am worried that this will draw attention to her. I’m going to get her microchipped tomorrow, but am worried about being out in public with her.

I bought this dog specifically for my son, who loves the breed. She is gentle, very submissive to my other dog and my family, but because her father was quite a big example of his breed, I’m scared that she will be too and could mistakenly come under the Pit Bull Terrier type umbrella”.

Many fear that the dog amnesty may bring death to more family pets than illegal dogs, whilst dog professionals in the area are concerned that rumours of the amnesty applying to any large or ‘fierce’ looking dog during the week it is in force, may be true.


Feb 12 2007

Pet Dog Put Down By Owner To Avoid Amnesty Seizures

A distraught dog owner has explained why she took the heart breaking decision to have her dog put down. It was reported on a website that reunites missing dogs with their owners, a site that had reunited this particular dog with it’s owner in the past, that a seizure was scheduled for the dog and the owner took the pre-emptive decision to have the dog put down by their vet.

 

The story has caused outrage amongst dog owners, especially those using the site where the news was broken. It is understood that the owner of dog, which was called Cassie, had been advised that a seizure was scheduled to removed the dog and have it put down as part of the current dog amnesty which is happening in Merseyside.

Rather than have the dog removed, kennelled and then put down after a stressful ordeal, the owner of the dog opted to take the dog herself and have their vet perform the procedure.

The news has caused widespread concern for the safety of all dogs that could be interpreted as being of “pit bull type”. A dog that is of no direct relation to a Pit Bull Terrier could still be judged as being of “pit bull type”, as the method used to make the decision is purely subjective. There is no way to prove or disprove whether a dog is of “pit bull type”

The Liverpool ‘dangerous’ dogs amnesty and other similar schemes are a disgrace. An excuse to terminate the lives of dogs guilty of nothing more than looking a certain way in a horribly vulgar, misguided attempt to manipulate the appearance of being proactive on dangerous dogs.

K9 Magazine believes viable alternatives to this scheme have been offered and ignored and would therefore urge anyone considering handing their dog over to the authorities to seriously reconsider.

We urge owners who believe their dog’s physical characteristics to be similar to that of the Pit Bull Terrier to first ensure they understand and are fully compliant with the Dangerous Dogs Act (see link below) and secondly to focus on the key issue of whether they believe their dog is a genuine threat to people’s safety and if professional behavioural advice should be sought prior to a possible death sentence. We wish to be very clear, we urge no dog owner to participate in this ugly, politically motivated dangerous dogs amnesty.


Jan 16 2007

Charity Calls For Calm Over Dangerous Dogs

DOGS TRUST KEEPS UP PRESSURE TO REFORM DANGEROUS DOGS LAWS

UK ‘s largest dog charity urging for calm over dangerous dogs and focus on ‘deed not breed’

Dogs Trust, the UK ‘s largest dog welfare charity, is keeping up pressure on government, policy-makers, media and local authorities to take a balanced approach to tackling dangerous dogs, and not to give in to a knee-jerk response to the events of new year’s day and the tragic death of five-year old Ellie Lawrenson.

Dogs Trust’s view is that the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) needs urgent review in order to tackle the real problem of aggressive dogs not by definition of breed, but by enforcing effective controls of any dog who shows unwarranted aggression, whatever their breed, and imposing strict conditions on the owners of such dogs.

This position has been widely reported in national and regional media, and the charity is now focussing on discussions with central government to push for an urgent but considered review of the DDA, and warning that an emotional and rushed response will simply repeat the mistakes of the original DDA.

The charity is also warning that rushing to bring in amnesties for pit bull-type dogs will not tackle the problem of aggressive dogs in the long-term, but could simply mean the destruction of a large number of dogs simply on the basis of their breed, and will also do nothing to tackle the owners who are deliberately encouraging aggression in their dogs.

Dogs Trust has been in discussions with several local authorities who are implementing amnesties for pit bull-type dogs, including attending a recent meeting held by Merseyside police and attended by all six local authorities in Merseyside, where the force confirmed an amnesty would be brought in on 22 nd January.

Clarissa Baldwin, Dogs Trust Chief Executive, said:

“It is really worrying as we are seeing a similar situation to what happened in the late 1980s, where legislation was rushed in as a knee-jerk reaction to hysterical media coverage of so-called dangerous dogs. It is essential that whatever action is taken has to be the best course in the long-term. Sadly, these amnesties will not tackle the problem as the policies remain fixated on a dog’s breed, rather than its deed. Until we bring in effective controls for dog owners of all breeds based on a dog’s behaviour, and put resources into enforcing this, some reprehensible owners will continue to encourage aggression in their dogs, while innocent dogs are destroyed simply because of their breed. We must keep calling for a thoughtful review of the law itself.”

Over the last two weeks Dogs Trust has also seen a marked increase in the number of dogs abandoned and handed over to its rehoming centres, with particularly large numbers of Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Staff are particularly saddened by this as many dogs have been loving and beloved family pets for years. Dogs Trust is urging dog owners not to panic that their dog will suddenly become aggressive, and has issued guidance for anyone concerned about their dog’s behaviour. 


Jan 16 2007

American Bulldog Banned In Gibraltar

The Government of Gibraltar has issued news of its plan to ban the American Bull Dog. In a statement released by the Government last week, it was revealed that due to a series of attacks from American Bull Dogs on other dogs, the Government now believes the breed to pose a danger to people and other dogs and therefore has banned the breed, effective of January 11.

Owners of the breed have been given three choices. To permanently export their pet, have it destroyed or to pay £50 followed by £25 a year for the rest of the dogs life to apply for an exemption.

Dog owners on the Rock are furious at the apparent hypocrisy of the move. One group called the Government into account, slamming them for the decision.

“On the one hand the government is saying these dogs are dangerous and should be got rid off or destroyed. On the other hand they are saying you can keep your dog alive if you pay us money. It’s outrageous.”

Gibraltar’s minister for the environment has expressed an intention to keep the new legislation “flexible” in case they want to add any more breeds to the list in future.

Government of Gibraltar Statement.

“Under the provisions of Section 2 of the Dangerous Dog Act 2003 the Government, has made an Order declaring the “American Bulldog” a dangerous dog. The Order comes into effect on the 11 January 2007. This action was deemed necessary following concerns by members of the public regarding a series of attacks locally by these type of dogs on other smaller dogs which resulted in horrific injuries.

The American Bulldog is an emerging breed and the Government is concerned that because of their large muscle mass and strength these animals have the ability to deliver a very powerful attack on other dogs and persons alike. These dogs are therefore considered dangerous and are now required to be kept muzzled and on a lead whilst in a public place or any place to which the public have access.

Within a period of two months of the Order coming into force an owner of this type of dog has to permanently export it, destroy it or apply to the Commissioner of Police for an exemption. An owner who fails to take any of these courses of action is liable to prosecution. The importation into Gibraltar of these dogs is now prohibited. An exemption will be granted to genuine family pets where the owner can show that this type of dog is well looked after, properly trained, and poses no danger to the public or other dogs.

Application for exemption forms may be collected at the offices of the Environmental Agency, 37 Town Range. Before an application for an exemption is considered the following has to be submitted by the applicant: 1. Evidence as to his suitability as the custodian of the dog (e.g. a Good Conduct Certificate issued by the Royal Gibraltar Police). 2. A Certificate from a Veterinary Surgeon as to the nature of the dog. 3. Copy of the current licence of the dog issued under the Animals Birds Rules. If after considering the application the Commissioner of Police authorises the grant of an exemption certificate, such certificate will only be granted on proof that:-

a. The dog is covered by insurance in respect of damage or injury caused by the dog to a third party;

b. The dog has had an identification microchip inserted; and

c. The dog has been neutered. A certificate of exemption, if granted, is renewable on application to the Commissioner of Police on a yearly basis.

The fee for the issuing of a certificate of exemption is £50 for the first year and £25 thereafter.

Commenting on the new measures the Minister for the Environment stated: “The listing of the ‘American Bulldog’ within the current listing of Dangerous Dogs under the Dangerous Dogs Act 2003, follows representation from various bodies with an interest in public safety. It is for this reason that the legislation is purposely kept flexible, in order to allow future breeds that have the potential to cause significant harm to other animals or humans to be so listed.”