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Figures obtained by the Press Association from police forces in England, Wales and Scotland have shown a significant rise in the number of dangerous dogs seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) last year. Banned breeds* include: any pitbull types, Japanese Tosa, Fila Brasileiro and Dogo Argentino.
West Midlands Police saw a rise by 50% compared with 2011 – seizing 412 dogs in 2013, of which 181 dangerous dogs were destroyed. And, Lancashire, Avon and Somerset, Surrey, South Wales, North Wales, Warwickshire, Cleveland and Gwent Police, all reported a rise in the number of dangerous dogs seized last year.
However, Britain’s biggest force – Scotland Yard – revealed a fall in the number of dangerous dogs seized in 2013, with 585 dogs seized under the DDA and 95 dogs destroyed. This is compared with 777 dangerous dogs seized and 103 destroyed in 2012.
The information obtained by the Press Association comes at a time when important changes to the DDA come into effect this week. These changes follow the tragic death of 14-year-old Jade Anderson who was savaged by four dogs believed to be two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers, when visiting the home of a friend near Wigan in March last year.
The biggest change that comes into effect from 13th May, is that the Act will now cover any incidents that occur on private property, in addition to public spaces. So, this includes you own house – both front and back gardens.
- It will now be an offence for your dog to attack an assistance dog (Guide Dog, Hearing Dog etc).
- Prison sentences will be increased for those convicted of some offences.
- Police or an appointed local authority now have powers to seize a dangerously out of control dog in a private place. The existing legislation already covers public places.
These changes apply to all dog owners no matter what size or breed, whether your pet is a Springer, Cockapoo or a Collie cross.
The changes mark a step forward in the Government’s commitment to dog control, however, some animal charities have called for “drastic changes”. The Dog’s Trust, said that it “does not believe that the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act goes far enough in tackling the various problems surrounding irresponsible dog ownership in the UK.” And, that “there is a clear need for a fundamental overhaul of dog legislation.”
Dog owners are being urged to familarise themselves with all the changes to the DDA this week. The National Animal Welfare Trust has produced a helpful advice sheet for owners – you can read this handy factsheet by clicking here.
*Under the 1991 Act (and as amended in 1997) it is illegal to own any Specially Controlled Dogs without specific exemption from a court. The dogs have to be muzzled and kept on a lead in public, they must be registered and insured, neutered, tattooed and receive microchip implants. The Act also bans the breeding, sale and exchange of these dogs, even if they are on the Index of Exempted Dogs.