If, like many dog lovers, you oppose breed specific legislation this campaign is one you’ll want to support.
Born Innocent, an organisation which lobbies against BSL legislation, is today asking the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) “Where is the Love?” for our dogs. The organisation is urging Defra to #Haveaheart and consider the plight of dogs who fall foul of the BSL laws.
The organisation, which is non-profit, is asking the public to show their support for the #Haveaheart campaign by sending Valentine’s cards to Defra asking them to “Have a heart” and end breed specific legislation.
Back in 1991, after a spate of dog bites, Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act was brought in. It has been proved ineffective though, as dog bites and attacks have continued to rise. According to NHS figures, in 2016 dog bites rose by 5% (versus a population rise of 0.6%) which came on top of a rise of of 76% in the previous 10 years.
Those opposed to BSL have repeatedly pointed out that judging dogs purely on their looks in an attempt to keep the pubic safe from dog bites or attacks targets the wrong dogs and owners. The result is that innocent family pets – and their bewildered families – are put under tremendous stress, and frequently endure financial hardship.
Born Innocent points out that peer reviewed scientific research – such as that by psychologist Dr Páraic Ó Súilleabháin - has shown that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 does not protect the public or prevent bites. A study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association claimed that in order to prevent 1 dog-bite hospitalisation in a city or town by a given breed, in excess of 100,000 dogs of the identified breeds would have to be removed completely from the population. Figures would need to be doubled to prevent a second dog-bite hospitalisation, and so on.
Hoping to bring home the inefficacy of the legislation, and the opposition of the general public to BSL, Born Innocent is urging people to send cards to Defra by 14th February 2017 asking the department to reconsider the laws.
Professor John Cooper QC, Patron of Born Innocent, said, “This legislation has failed to protect the public from dog bites. It was a knee jerk reaction by Parliament 25 years ago, to a spate of high profile incidents and it is time to apply mature thought to produce an Act which works both for the dogs, their owners and the public.”
Born Innocent Board Member, Shaila Bux, added, “Over the last year we have been having some helpful meetings with key decision and policy makers, such as The Law Commission and the London Assembly. This campaign is part of an overall strategy to repeal breed specific legislation and introduce reforms that do not see innocent dogs die or dog owners left with huge legal bills or worse, a criminal record.”
To find out more and to support the Born Innocent campaign, visit their website www.borninnocent.co.uk