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Does removing loving family dogs from their home really make our world a safer place?

By Sue McCabe

Imagine council officials coming to your home and measuring your dog with a tape measure. Because of the results, your dog is taken away from you. Taken to a location you are not informed of. Taken with no further access to seeing him, hugging him, explaining to him why he’s no longer at home with you. This is my nightmare and one which is a reality in the UK because of Breed Specific Legislation. This, regardless of whether your dog is breed type specified or not. Simply because a jobs-worth in the council think they know your dog better than you do. It looks a particular way, therefore it must be dangerous!

Lennox is a case in point. He was an 8 week old puppy when his owners brought him home to live with their Boxer, their Yorkshire Terrier and their family (including kids). His mum was an American Bulldog and his father a lab X Staffie. The family knew all this. Lennox has lived a great life for the past 5 years, though living in Belfast city means he’s always walked on leash and because of other people’s perception of him, he’s muzzled in public. This is a responsible decision his owners have taken.

In May of this year Lennox was seized and since then, his owners have had their world turned upside down. How does this help with removing genuinely dangerous dogs from the streets or from doing harm? How does this help with gangs using dogs of all breeds as weapons to threaten, main and potentially kill? How does the seizing of Lennox really help with ensuring responsible dog ownership? The simple answer of course is that it does not. And this is the main reason why Breed Specific Legislation cannot and does not work. It simply results in heart ache for the responsible owners and their dogs who regardless of their breed, have done no wrong except to look a particular way. Meanwhile those who wish to train their dog to act aggressively and look the part, continue to do so with any breed they see fit.

Read more about Lennox’s story on