Battersea's comment on the Government's response to EFRA's Report, Controlling Dangerous Dogs

28 JANUARY 2019

Today, 28th January 2019, the Government announced their response to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA)’s report, Controlling Dangerous Dogs. The Government’s response, Controlling dangerous dogs: Government Response to the Committee’s Ninth Report, can be viewed here

The EFRA Committee’s report stated that the current Dangerous Dogs Act has failed to protect the public, while harming animal welfare. It also called for changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act, 1991, and for a rethink of how Breed Specific Legislation around banned breeds operates.  

In its response to the Committee, the Government has rightly spoken of the importance of better education of dog owners, and the need to fully understand the effectiveness of current enforcement. However, disappointingly, there was no support for the proposed changes to legislation covered in the EFRA report, and there was a strong implication that the status quo is acceptable. 

Please find Battersea’s comment on today’s Government’s response to EFRA’s report below. 

Battersea’s Chief Executive Claire Horton said: 

“While it’s encouraging that the Government is committed to improving education on safety around dogs, Battersea is disappointed that they have chosen to disregard the EFRA Committee’s recommendation to rethink Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) around banned breeds. This is surely a missed opportunity.

“EFRA’s report was based on detailed evidence and a great deal of experience provided by many rescue centres such as Battersea, the police and other groups who are all affected by this failed law. Almost every organisation and expert who gave evidence recommended a review of the legislation, as it is unfair on dogs and does not adequately protect the public. Despite many experts testifying to the EFRA Committee that there was a need to review BSL, the Government has failed to give any convincing evidence to back up their decision to leave this flawed legislation unchanged. 

“Worst of all, the Government’s stance means dogs on their banned breed list will still have to be destroyed, based purely on what a dog looks like and not on what it’s actually done. So today’s Government response is a setback for animal welfare but we must continue to make every effort to convince Ministers that this law needs, at the very least, to be improved.
“We will continue to work with the Government to try to put an end to unfair and ineffective legislation for banned breeds.”