Time for Change

The Pet Education Trust (PET) hopes that last night’s hard hitting Death Row Dogs documentary on BBC1 has had the desired effect on many people by making them aware of one common denominator when it comes to problems with status or dangerous dogs – bad ownership. The programme will also have stirred a whole wealth of emotions in animal lovers, particularly as they watched a healthy, friendly dog be seized from a previously convicted dog owner, banned from keeping animals – which then had to be destroyed simply because a law (The Dangerous Dog Act 1991) is flawed.

PET believes that the programme clearly highlighted the desperate need for education amongst owners. It would appear that not one of the owners portrayed in the programme knew anything about how to correctly raise or socialise a dog. It was also clear to see that the animals were often found terrified and cowering in filthy, unsuitable living conditions.

Naidre Werner, Director of The Pet Education Trust commented on last night’s programme: “Well done to the BBC for portraying the situation around dangerous dogs in a fair way. There are unsuitable, uneducated, irresponsible dog owners out there who should not be keeping any pet, let alone a strong breed of dog. Yet they are and they keep doing it, so surely now it is time for change? A change in the laws is needed so that the ownership of a ‘status’ dog, that could be used as a ‘weapon’ by some people, is punished severely and the punishments actually implemented.”

“Similarly, a change in the Dangerous Dog Act (DDA) is urgently needed. To put to death an animal that obviously hasn’t been trained to fight and that is a friendly, family pet, which because of its unsuitable owner and living conditions can’t be rehomed because of the DDA law is criminal in itself.”

The BBC documentary has highlighted areas of the law that many organisations (including the Pet Education Trust,) who work within the animal care and behaviour industry have been arguing against for a number of years.

Animal behaviourist Debbie Connolly, who sits on the Advisory Panel for the Pet Education Trust added: “The phrase Deed not Breed is true for a reason. Any dog can attack and cause a nasty bite. Any dog that is badly bred by back yard breeders or puppy farms, not correctly cared for, socialised and trained has the capacity to inflict an injury. Whilst it is the power breeds like staffies, pit bull types and rotties that hit the headlines in tragic circumstances, in my many years of behaviourial training, I’ve seen the same injuries caused by much smaller, ‘family’ pets. In every case, it is bad breeding and irresponsible owners. ”

Debbie continued: “Death Row Dogs highlighted the very difficult job the Police do in implementing a law that punishes good dogs. The sad sight of a lovely tempered Pit Bull being put to sleep wagging its tail will haunt all dog lovers for ever. Seeing dogs in filthy, disgusting conditions does beg the question whether our other laws about animal welfare and the five freedoms are being enforced at all whilst innocent dogs are dying for how they look.’

The Pet Education Trust would like to see far more being done to educate what is already known to be the problem areas within society who seek to own status dogs and simply treat them as another form of weapon. PET would also like to see members of the public educated away from what is a knee-jerk ‘ban all dangerous dogs’ reaction so that they too can see the truth behind the problem…..the owners themselves. As much as last night’s documentary made uncomfortable and even disturbing viewing, it also did much to point the finger of blame exactly where it needs to be pointed.

5 Responses to Time for Change

  1. jan says:

    I quite agree that seeing a loving pitbull getting killed purely because of a crazy law that was passed by people knowing nothing about dogs was very distressing.
    Another dog that was not of type that bites a child gets to go back home. Its non sensical, and very sad. That dog was trusting the people that administered the lethal injection. I couldnt live with that. The law must change, sad for the dogs that have been killed at the hands of this pathetic law, but best to change it now and save other dogs. Education is the key and punishment for bad dog owners, this is the way forward for fewer dog bites. Deed not breed.

  2. sean mcgurk says:

    It’s about time the government listen , I have had bullbreeds all my day and like any breed its the person how’s holding the leash that makes the difference

  3. e petition to call on Government to change the Dangerous Dogs Act

  4. Chris Hyland says:

    It is ALWAYS the owner’s fault if a dog attacks another dog but it is also true that certain breeds have a propensity to be aggressive. Perhaps we should now question why, when there are so many breeds of dog available, people feel the need to possess a dog from a breed that was originally bred to be aggressive.

    We had a “staffie” bitch when I was a child who was a delight with all the kids and everyone we knew but who was a monster with other bitches. She could never be allowed off the lead in public and missed out on a lot of the fun that all our other dogs have had, running around the fields, playing with other dogs etc.

    I would like to see a culture change where some breeds are allowed to die out as they have no purpose any more. As a dog owner I witness fights involving staffies or staffie crosses almost every week and the sad fact is, that unlike scraps amongst other breeds the staffies inflict a lot of damage

  5. I only just found you and didn’t see the programme. In a way I wish I had but reading Debbie’s comment about the poor dog being killed because of the way he looked and a medieval law that should never have been passed I’m sort of glad I didn’t. Reading it was bad enough….

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