A leading anti-bsl campaign and lobbying organisation have launched a campaign today asking the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to have a #Haveaheart and show ‘Where is the Love?’ for our dogs.

The non-profit group, Born Innocent, have launched their #Haveaheart campaign and are calling on the public to flood DEFRA with Valentine’s cards, asking them to ‘Have a Heart’ and end breed specific legislation, which has done nothing to reduce dog bites and attacks, and yet every year innocent dogs lose their lives, not because of what they have done, but purely because of how they look and how the act judges ‘type’ dogs.

Key facts about the Dangerous Dogs Act

Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced in 1991 due to a spate of dog bite incidents.

However, since its introduction, dog bites and attacks have risen and continue to rise.

Figures for 2016 show that dog bites rose by 5% according to NHS figures (versus a population rise of 0.6%), on top of a rise of 76% in the previous 10 years.

Experts condemn approach of targeting dogs based on looks

Critics have long argued that pursuing dogs based on their looks alone does not keep the public safe from dog bites or attacks and that unfairly targeting owners with dogs, who fit the characteristics of a banned breed, do nothing more than penalise, on the whole, innocent family pets and puts both emotional and financial strain on hard working people.

Peer reviewed scientific research by many leading academics and scientists, such as International Psychologist, Dr Dr Páraic Ó Súilleabháin, has extensively shown that ineffectiveness of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in preventing serious injury, as it lacks any efficacy as a public health measure and bite prevention.

Indeed, according to a study on the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, in order to prevent one dog-bite hospitalisation in a city or town by a given breed, in excess of 100,000 dogs of the identified breeds would have to be removed completely from the population. Figures would need to be doubled to prevent a second dog-bite hospitalisation, and so on.

The campaign aims to highlight to the government just how strongly the public disagrees with this piece of legislation and are asking people to send their cards to DEFRA by 14th February 2017.

Professor John Cooper QC, Patron of Born Innocent, said, “This legislation has failed to protect the public from dog bites. It was a knee jerk reaction by Parliament 25 years ago, to a spate of high profile incidents and it is time to apply mature thought to produce an Act which works both for the dogs, their owners and the public.”

Born Innocent Board Member, Shaila Bux, added, “over the last year we have been having some helpful meetings with key decision and policy makers, such as The Law Commission and the London Assembly.

This campaign is part of an overall strategy to repeal breed specific legislation and introduce reforms that
do not see innocent dogs die or dog owners left with huge legal bills or worse, a criminal record.

Get involved in the campaign to encourage UK lawmakers to ‘Have a Heart’ by visiting the Born Innocent Facebook page at @borninnocentdda or visit their website at www.borninnocent.co.uk

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