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Battersea calls on concerned public to help change law on banned breeds

There has been a huge public response in the 24 hours since Battersea Dogs & Cats Home launched its damning report on the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. A quarter of a century since the law was passed, Battersea is calling for a repeal of Section One of the Act which outlawed four breeds of dogs from the UK: the Pit Bull Terrier, the Dogo Argentino, the Japanese Tosa and the Fila Braziliero.

To illustrate that dogs should not be condemned for their breed and only for what they have actually done, Battersea told the tragic story of Francis, an 18 month old stray identified by the Police as being a Pit Bull type who will by law, have to be put to sleep.

Battersea has to deal with such heart-breaking cases every week of the year as it is a charity that takes in all dogs, regardless of their breed, medical history, or temperament. The public have responded in their thousands in support of Francis and future dogs like him who face the same outcome.

The world-famous charity has been greatly heartened by this overwhelming public response to the issue of banned breeds and people’s heartfelt desire to help individual dogs like Francis. The Home is now asking for the public to help bring about a change in the law.

Battersea Chief Executive Claire Horton says:
“Our staff and volunteers face heart-breaking cases like Francis every week of the year. Until the law is changed, so that a dog is not judged by its breed, but by what it has actually done, dogs like Francis and many more in the future will have to be put to sleep.”

“Battersea cannot break the law but with public support we can try to change it, to save the lives of innocent dogs in the future. That’s why we’re urging people to write to their MP and point out the ineffectiveness and injustice of the Dangerous Dogs Act.”

The charity is asking concerned members of the public to write to their MP and highlight the urgent need for change, as outlined in its new report “Dog bites: What’s breed got to do with it?” The report surveyed 215 expert behaviourists and consultants on the reasons why some dogs may be aggressive towards people. 74% argued that breed was either not at all important or only slightly important, whilst an overwhelming 86% believed it was due to the way that the dog was brought up by its owner.

Battersea’s legal consultant and dog law solicitor Trevor Cooper adds:
“This new evidence confirms why this law is so wrong. The only way of changing Breed Specific Legislation is through Parliament and so we are asking those who agree with Battersea to please write to your MP and tell them it should be repealed. If we can achieve this, then dogs like Francis will not die in vain.”

Battersea has drafted words the public might like to use in writing to their MP which can be found on the Battersea website at battersea.org.uk

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