Emma Hindson, from Durham, adopted Zara from her local rescue centre. Suspicions that she might be a prohibited type of dog were first raised by her dog trainer, and so Emma contacted her dog legislation officer.
Following an assessment, Zara was found to be of type but, because she was so well behaved and had good character references from the trainer, she was allowed to stay at home until the day of the court case. She was returned the following day having been exempted.
The conditions of exemption have impacted on Zara’s health and behaviour. The muzzle she is required to wear rubs against her nose - even though it is the correct size and is covered in fleece. These sores take a long time to heal as she has to wear the muzzle daily and for long periods of time. Being on the lead also means that she gets frustrated as she can’t play with other dogs.
Emma says: “It does make things difficult as there is no room for error, no mistakes or forgetful moments can be allowed to happen as they could lead to her being euthanased.
“Only certain kennels will board her and I have to trust them to take excellent care of her on the odd occasion I am away. I am only allowed to be away from her for 30 days in a year so have to think carefully if I’m going anywhere I can’t take her.
“There is also a stigma attached to owning a dog like Zara, when we are out walking we are often judged by other people.”
What Emma thinks of BSL:
“I think BSL is not only ineffective in preventing dog attacks but also a very dangerous piece of legislation. It is completely unjust to target a particular type of dog because of its appearance. I also think it gives people a false sense of security about other breeds, suggesting that they can’t act dangerously.
“I think that ALL dogs should be treated equally and on their individual behaviour, so the emphasis of the law should be on promoting responsible dog ownership and correct choice of breed.”