26-09-2006 - Dangerous Dogs
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 as amended makes the ownership of four types of dog illegal - the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero. Since none are recognised as breeds in the UK and there is no description of them in the Act identification can be difficult. Defra have however provided guidance on what they consider the breeds look like and this can be downloaded from the Defra website.
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Because the Act refers to 'dogs of the type known as a pit bull terrier' it is impossible to claim that any dog is a pit bull cross. In any event the parentage and behaviour of any individual dog is largely irrelevant as the dog has simply to look like the Defra guidance.
Any person who owns a dog fitting the description is guilty of an offence and, if prosecuted, must prove to the court that the dog is not a pit bull. If convicted and if the owner can show the court that the dog is not a public danger, the dog may be entered on the Index of Exempted Dogs created by the Act (and closed in November 1991) as long as the other conditions are complied with i.e. neutering, microchipping, muzzled when outside and the taking out of third party insurance. The only mechanism now open to add a dog to the Index is after the owner has been convicted.
It is for this reason that The Kennel Club has called for the Index of Exempted Dogs to be re-opened. Read more here.
The BVA has long been opposed in principle to any proposals which single out particular breeds of dogs rather than targeting individual aggressive dogs. The problems caused by dangerous dogs will never be solved until dog owners appreciate that they are responsible for the actions of their animals. Read the BVA Policy statement.
Further information on the law and pit bulls is available on The Kennel Club website.
BVA supports the The Blue Dog campaign which aims to educate parents and children about the safest way to interact with their dog in a household setting and The Kennel Club's Safe & Sound Scheme.