Breed Specific Legislation Is Tearing Families Apart

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Help bring an end to unjust policies that demand certain dogs be taken and killed based on their breed


Since the Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced in the UK in 1991, the region has been rife with horror stories of family dogs being taken from their homes and put to death because their breed has been categorically branded a threat.

According to the RSPCA [1], Pit Bull type dogs, along with Japanese Tosa, Fila Braziliero and the Dogo Argentino breeds are often confiscated and locked in kennels or destroyed by law enforcement based on nothing more than their appearance.

There's no telling how much unjust pain and sorrow has been visited on those who love these animals, many who have never shown signs of aggression, only to have them torn away.

If a dog suspected of being dangerous is ever returned to its family, it's often under draconian conditions, necessitating unsightly muzzles to constrict the animal's snout while outdoors. But other families aren't even that fortunate. Details of the law at Gov.uk [2] explain that owners of banned breeds, if found guilty under the Dangerous Dogs Act, can be fined any amount a judge sees fit and sent to prison for up to 6 months while their animals are destroyed.

Patrick Stewart [3] has been recently championed as a crusader against BSL in the UK after his foster dog Ginger was not allowed to come back home with him from the United States. Stewart and his wife, Sunny Ozell, left Ginger back in the states when they returned to England, knowing her future would be brighter there than anywhere she might be subject to BSL laws.

The RSPCA mentions two cases, Zara and Fudge, as prime examples of the issues BSL presents to dogs and their humans in the UK. While Zara was returned to her family the following day after law enforcement confiscated her for being a "dangerous," she now has to wear an uncomfortable muzzle that not only chafes and blisters her snout, but makes it hard to eat or drink, and perpetuates the shortsighted myth the BSL has brought about.

For Fudge, the outcome was even worse. Rescued as a six-week old puppy from a shelter in Liverpool, Fudge's owner had grown to love the dog but was not aware of the issues BSL raised. After a neighbor reported 5-month-old Fudge to the police, law enforcement officers confiscated the dog and euthanized it. The owner was not made aware until afterward that she could have challenged the ruling and saved her dog's life by applying for "responsible owner" status.

It's clear the intent of the Dangerous Dogs Act does not match its execution at any level. There is no reason for legislation that kills innocent and loving animals, and these policies need to be rescinded. Sign to tell the UK Parliament and British Prime Minister Theresa May that there is no place for BSL in the civilized world.

[1] RSPCA, Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Retrieved May 4, 2017 from https://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/dogownership/bsl

[2] Gov.uk (2017, April 26) Controlling your dog in public. Retrieved May 4, 2017 from https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/banned-dogs

[3] Matthew Russell (2017, April 18) Patrick Stewart Is In Love With This Pit Bull But Can’t Take Her Home Due To BSL. Retrieved May 4, 2017 from https://blog.theanimalrescuesite.com/stewart-ginger/

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The Petition:

Dear members of the UK Parliament and Prime Minister Theresa May,

Far too many dogs have been destroyed and families damaged by the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991. No matter the intent of the law, the effects are clear. There is no reason for legislation that kills innocent and loving animals, and these policies need to be rescinded.

BSL leads to family dogs being confiscated from their homes and put to death because their breed has been categorically branded a threat. In the UK, that includes Pit Bull type dogs, Japanese Tosa, Fila Braziliero and the Dogo Argentino breeds, solely because of historical and cultural connections to fighting. Connections that the very same humans perpetrated years ago to being dog fighting into prominence.

There is no veterinary or behavioral research showing these dogs are more aggressive than others, only that lawmakers in the UK are willing to believe that myth and base sweeping measures upon those myopic judgments.

The RSPCA mentions two cases, Zara and Fudge, two dogs who were never involved in an incident of aggression, as prime examples of the issues BSL presents to dogs and their humans in the UK. While Zara was returned to her family the following day after law enforcement confiscated her for being a "dangerous," she now has to wear an uncomfortable muzzle that not only chafes and blisters her snout, but makes it hard to eat or drink, and perpetuates the shortsighted myth the BSL has brought about.

For Fudge, the outcome was even worse. Rescued as a six-week old puppy from a shelter in Liverpool, Fudge's owner had grown to love the dog but was not aware of the issues BSL raised. After a neighbor reported 5-month-old Fudge to the police, law enforcement officers confiscated the dog and euthanized it. The owner was not made aware until afterward that she could have challenged the ruling and saved her dog's life by applying for "responsible owner" status.

The only proper way for BSL to be implemented is to abolish such laws entirely and prosecute dog owners who actively encourage violent behavior, not by killing innocent and loving animals.

You have an opportunity today to make history for the undervalued rights of animals, save the lives of countless dogs, and restore the faith of pet owners in the UK. I implore you, on behalf of the humans and dogs of the United Kingdom, to make the right decision and end BSL.

Sincerely,

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