Vets to call for reform of law on dangerous dogs
Monday 11 January 1993
The RSPCA and the Kennel Club have already called for the Act to be changed, arguing that it costs millions of pounds a year in kennel fees for dogs whose owners are awaiting trial, and that it has led to lengthy and expensive court fees, as well as dogs being put down as pit-bull terriers whose owners are convinced are innocuous mongrels or pedigree Staffordshire bull terriers.
Police officers in areas with many pit bulls are worried that the Act is taking up an excessive amount of time and money.
Under the Act, passed 15 months ago, owners of pit-bull terriers had to neuter, tattoo, microchip and register them before the end of 1991 and keep them muzzled in public. Beyond that date, any owner of an unregistered or unmuzzled pit bull was liable to a fine, and the dog faces a mandatory death penalty.
The difficulties have arisen because the Act defines the dangerous dog as 'the type of dog known as a pit bull'. Pit-bull terriers are not a breed in Britain, although there are two breed specifications in the United States. Courts and expert witnesses have used various interpretations of the word type.
Hundreds of dogs have been destroyed on the ruling of magistrates, and dozens of owners have taken their cases to appeal. Some are awaiting judicial review on the definition of the Act after losing appeals to Crown courts. At least one dog described by Cruft's judges as a pedigree Staffordshire has been ruled to be a 'pit-bull type'.
Guidelines to police on pit-bull identification given by the Home Office when the Act came in have been substantially revised.
The BVA had stayed officially silent on the Act until now but will make its views known at a press conference on Thursday.
The association has become increasingly alarmed at the number of vets giving evidence for the prosecution on breed identification, leading to the death of healthy dogs which it sees as bad for the image of the profession. Breed identification forms no part of vets' training.
It is expected to call on Thursday for the mandatory death penalty to be lifted, giving the magistrates discretion in cases where there is no record of bad behaviour by the dog. It is also to press for the registration of pit bulls to be reopened, so owners of dogs who may have been brought under the terms of the Act by the wide interpretations of the courts can now be legalised.
The Home Office said it was monitoring the working of the Act but had no plans to amend it.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
peopleWhat advice would David Cameron give to his younger self?
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
North Korea executes Kim Jong Un's powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek for 'attempting to overthrow the state'
Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- 1 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 4 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- < Previous
- Next >
£200 - £240 per day: Harrington Starr: Client Data Management - City - Brokera...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...
£30k - 35k : Charter Selection: Leading property consultancy firm based in Sou...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: My client is a Top 50 Accoun...