Banning breeds: is it the answer?
After the horrific dog attacks that have taken place involving American XL Bully dogs in recent weeks, it was inevitable that the government would come under pressure to act. The Prime Minister has announced that these dogs would be added to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act by the end of the year.
Banning breeds is hugely controversial, with Battersea, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, RSPCA, Scottish SPCA and BVA teaming up as the Dog Control Coalition to campaign for the breed specific legislation to be repealed and replaced with legislation that better protects public safety and dog welfare. The Dog Control Coalition is particularly concerned about the part of the law that labels certain types of dogs as dangerous purely based on their looks, and wants to avoid the unnecessary euthanasia of happy, friendly dogs. There are four breeds that are currently banned: the American pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the Dogo Argentinos and the Fila Brazileiro. For American pit bull terriers, identification depends on their appearance compared to American Dog Breeding Association standards rather than their genetics. This means that legal breeds can be identified as illegal dogs – and potentially be euthanised – if they look close enough to the standard. The government is working with experts to urgently define the American XL Bully, but the Dog Control Coalition point out that identifying breeds accurately, especially the American XL Bully, is difficult due to similarities with other breeds.