Deed Not Breed

The Scottish Parliament has recently amended their dogs laws so the emphasis is changed to deed not breed. From now until June 1, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is seeking views from individuals and organisations on whether current legislation “adequately protects the public and encourages responsible dog ownership.” So if you have something to say about the Dangerous Dogs Act let them know!

Got a couple of minutes?

There is currently a campaign that calls for the repeal of Section One of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. This is called a breed specific legislation as it relates to specific breeds or ‘types’ of dog. Thousands have dogs have been killed because of their looks, not because of any problem! This is patently unjust and now, as an election looms, maybe somebody will realise if enough people point it out so do take a couple of minutes to sign the online petition.

Will it happen?

Late last month, the Better Government Initiative’s report Good Government: Reforming Parliament and the Executive, was published.  The report, which has been written by, and signed up to by, some of the most senior former civil servants in the country, brands the Dangerous Dogs Act, the Hunting Act, the Poll Tax, the Child Support Agency, along with others, a “notorious example of bad Government”.

The Better Government Initiative includes the former Cabinet secretary Lord Butler and Sir John Chilcott who is chairing the Iraq war inquiry, so is well thought of. It is there to comment on the state of government in Britain and “make specific proposals for reform in Parliament, to. improve the quality and effectiveness of government.”

In explaining “what has gone wrong” and the “present unsatisfactory position”, the report states that: “Over the last 20 years, the public and media have come to regard several events as notorious examples of bad government: the Community Charge (now remembered as the Poll Tax) in 1990, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, the failure of the Child Support Agency, the Hunting Act 2004, the story of the Millennium Dome.”

The report states: “The media’s increasing appetite for policy initiatives has been a prime source of the high volume of often ill-thought out legislation… A consequence has been that a higher proportion of Bills now enter Parliament incomplete, poorly explained, and requiring substantial amendment. That situation not only wastes scarce parliamentary time but also increases the likelihood that the resulting statute will need amending because it has proved unsatisfactory, or in some instances unworkable.”

We have all known for a long time that things need sorting but now there is powerful independent backing for repeal…something that seems to have escaped a lot of notice in the flurry of “other” reports that have been filling the canine papers. Italy got rid of its Dangerous Dogs Act in 2009 and Holland in 2008; is there any chance that the UK could join the list in 2010/2011?