Letter: Vexed question of dangerous dogs

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Sir: As the veterinary surgeon involved in the defence of Marina Cleland's lurcher dog, I feel it imperative to clarify my position in this and other cases in which I am involved. I am utterly in agreement with the control and eventual eradication of pit-bull terriers, which are fighting machines not suitable for a civilised society.

However, when the horrendous attacks took place in 90/91 we, the public, were constantly shown photographs by the media of dogs I recognised as real pit-bull terriers. Although, in my experience, this type varies widely in height, build and colour (much as do poodles), they all are of a type. This was the type of dog which we, the public, were told to register.

Only one year later, I am involved in the defence of dogs which are only guilty of being short-coated and mongrel. This is a travesty of justice and one which has potentially made criminals of hundreds of thousands of people owning mongrel dogs which have nothing to do with pit-bull terriers in any way, shape or form, or are various crosses of that type.

The Act is specific in referring to the 'type known as the pit-bull terrier'. If we, the public, do not insist that those responsible for administering this law restrict themselves to this type we will be guilty of allowing a genetic witch- hunt of momentous proportion.

Yours faithfully,


London, NW10

26 October