National Dog Warden Association (NDWA)
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Deed Not Breed Response To RSPCA Dangerous Dog Conference

Wed, 04 Jun 2008
The RSPCA have today announced a dramatic increase in the number of reports of dog fighting received by them as the charity hosts a major 'summit' to discuss the increasing controversy over dogs in the community.

In 2007 the charity says they received 358 calls specifically about dog fighting - compared to 137 in 2006. Of the 358 calls, 132 referred specifically to youths or 'hoodies' fighting their dogs in the street or park. The RSPCA back up their findings using Metropolitan Police statistics, which show a massive increase in the number of dogs seized in London under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

A Metropolitan police report published in July 2007 states that the number of dogs seized increased from 33 in the 2005/2006 period to 148 for 2006/2007

Deed not Breed believe increased reports are largely due to an increase in public awareness of the Dangerous Dogs Act and the breeds contained within it following the tragic death of Ellie Lawrenson on New Years Day 2007, whereas prior to this incident people were largely unaware of the 17 year old law or its breed type restrictions and although in the main Police Authorities with the exception of Merseyside Police {who after the death of Ellie Lawrenson implemented a Dangerous Dogs amnesty) have not specifically targeted Dangerous Dogs, they do rightly have to act on any complaint made by the public especially as Merseyside Police came under fire for apparently not acting on complaints that were made regarding the dog that later went on to take the life of a child. Recent high profile media reports surrounding illegal dogs are bound to result in an increase in the amount of complaints made.

Interestingly during the Dangerous Dog Amnesty in Merseyside, the Police website asked that people only report to them illegal breeds and that any other breed that was thought to be a danger should be dealt with by the owner in conjunction with a vet and/or a behaviourist. Deed Not BreedÂ’s theory is that this amnesty did nothing to protect the public and in the main targeted only family pets and their responsible owners.

We also feel that seizure figures have no bearing on an increase in attacks or dog fighting. Deed Not Breed have been involved with a large number of cases being brought under the DDA in the last 18 months. Many dogs were seized solely for the way that they look and not for anything that they have done, with the vast majority of them eventually being returned to their owners because they were family pets and found not to present a danger to the public regardless of their breed or type.

We feel that a distinction should be made between organised dog fighters and hoodies hanging around street corners with their dogs There is a very big difference between the two with the main difference being that one cannot be educated the other can.

Deed Not Breed is extremely concerned by an apparent upsurge in organised dog fighting and feels that those responsible should be dealt with strongly both on welfare grounds and in law, and that any bans from keeping animals should be rigorously checked and enforced to prevent any breaches of court orders We share the RSPCA view that mention of dog fighting promotes images of 'dangerous' or 'devil' dogs, when in the vast majority of cases, it is the owner or breeder causing the problem, not the dog. No one breed is any more likely to bite than any other, and any breed in the hands of uneducated or unsuitable owners is capable of causing nuisance or injury. Inexperienced and irresponsible breeding is also a contributing factor.

With regard to status dogs

The Colmans advertisements resulted in a massive increase in ownership of Boxers, 101 Dalmatians and Turner and Hooch did the same for Dalmatians and Dogue de Bordeaux, The Churchill ads saw people buying Bulldogs, and Paris Hilton and Geri Halliwell have both popularised Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus, all of these have resulted in two things, an increase in the breeding of these breeds by irresponsible breeders with the emphasis on quantity not quality in order to meet demand and some time later an increase in these breeds ending up in rescues due to the lack of forethought by owners who have not considered the requirements of their chosen breed or its suitability to their families situation or routine. Status dogs come in all shapes and sizes and it is Education not Legislation that we need to solve the current problems relating to dogs.

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