A Dog's Life with Anna Webb joined by Dr Sam Gaines
This week the RSPCA’s Dog Welfare Specialist, Dr Sam Gaines, joins Anna to discuss the latest on Breed Specific Legislation. Following a recent debate in Parliament prompted by a petition urging for reform as the 30th Anniversary of the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991) approached on August 12th. We discuss that as a ‘nation of animal lovers’ the UK is behind other countries in its approach to dogs and public safety. The banning of four breeds: the Pitbull, the Japanese Tosa, the Fila Brasiliero, and Dogo Argentino has not worked with dog bites rising year on year. We discuss other approaches not least education, bringing back dog licences, new bylaws that would be in the public’s safety. We chat about the potential of an independent review and study to ascertain whether certain breeds are more ‘dangerous’ than other breeds or cross breeds. If the independent review concludes there is insufficient evidence to support the Governments position on BSL, the hope is this aspect would have to be revised. Why introducing mandatory training and education courses for minor offences, similar to speed awareness courses for drivers would help nip problem behaviours in the bud, and offer support. We also highlight that currently animal welfare charities like The RSPCA are bound by law not to re-home breeds of a certain ‘type’, even if they are temperament tested to be sound. Victims of certain measurements currently means that these dogs have to be destroyed. Causing heart break for vets and the staff, it's also an unnecessary waste of life and costs to these organisations. The current approach to dog control is plagued with deep structural problems, not least judging a book by its cover. Improvements to public safety that simultaneously safeguards animal welfare can only be achieved through an open minded engagement with new strategies. Currently the Government’s lack of action on this front shows a disregard for dog welfare and is at odds with its proposed Animal Action Plan to bring in animal welfare legislation that sets a global precedent.
Tune in here