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Member Area > Breed Specific Legislation. Are we barking up the wrong tree?

Breed Specific Legislation. Are we barking up the wrong tree?

By Sue McCabe

When the Dangerous Dogs Act was passed in the UK in the early nineties it was against many animal charities advice. Almost twenty years on, with increased pressure from dog welfare associations to repeal the act, why is the government just not listening?

Evidence around the world, shows over and over again that dogs are still being used as dangerous weapons, that any dog can become aggressive given the right, or wrong circumstances and that no specific breed is any more likely to bite than any other (

A recent media announcement that the government was proposing compulsory micro-chipping of all pet dogs and in addition, mandatory public liability insurance for dog owners, came following discussions on how best to proceed, since clearly the 1991 DDA is simply not working.

However, despite the news less than a week later that the no such change in the law would now go ahead, no mention was made to repeal Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act. This is despite pressure from most of the major dog welfare charities in the UK, the Dog Wardens Association and even the British Veterinary Association (see below for more details).

Whatever your view, it’s clear that the current law is simply not working as people continue to be bitten-or worse-by dogs. It is equally clear that in every breed there are good and bad specimens who can be the best pet ever, or a lethal weapon in the wrong hands. Breed specific legislation makes no allowances for this fact and it is in this that it ultimately fails.


National Dog Wardens Association

Dogs Trust

Blue Cross

British Veterinary Association