Responsible ownership is key to preventing dog bites or strikes. We believe that dog behaviour results primarily from the rearing and training provided by the owner and only in part from inherited characteristics.
In principle, we are opposed to any proposal or legislation that singles 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 - the "deed not breed" principle.
The following sections include useful information and resources on dangerous dogs:
Our position on dangerous dogs
Previously, BVA issued a
policy statement on dangerous dogs supporting the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe's position on the problems of breed specific legislation.
Dangerous dogs legislation
In the UK, it is illegal to own the following types of dog:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Braziliero
However, the four types identified by the
Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (amended, 1997 & 2014) are not recognised breeds in the UK and they are not described in the Act. This makes identification difficult.
Our activity on dangerous dogs
- We have welcomed the government introduction of compulsory microchipping from 6 April 2016 in England, Scotland, and Wales
- In July 2015
we issued statistics from our Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey in which vets surveyed estimated up to 25% of dogs are still not chipped
- In May 2014,
we welcomed new dog control laws which extended the offence of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control on private property and called for further review of dangerous dog legislation
- In December 2014
a report, "Review and Recommendations for Developing an Effective England-wide Strategy for Dogs", was released by the Associate Party Parliamentary Group for Animal welfare in association with BVA and a number of other stakeholders.
- In January 2013
we joined forces with the Webinar Vet to deliver an informative and thought provoking webinar to over 350 online attendees
- In 2013, we issued
a joint response with BSAVA to the Home office consultation on the Antisocial behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill
- In 2012, we issued
a joint response with BSAVA to the 2012 Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Inquiry into Dog Control and Welfare, to which we also provided oral evidence
- In 2012
we responded jointly with BSAVA and SPVS to a government consultation on tackling irresponsible dog ownership in England
- In 2010 we issued
a joint response with BSAVA to the government consultation on dangerous dogs in England and Wales
In November 2011 we also formed a joint lobbying group of 19 leading animal welfare and veterinary organisations, trade unions, and enforcement bodies. The group issued a joint briefing paper
‘Finding solutions to irresponsible dog ownership’ to government and parliamentarians calling on them to urgently review failed dog control legislation. The group also set up an
We successfully lobbied MSPs, to support an amendment to the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill which removed the reference to a dog's "size and power" when considering whether or not it is out of control. The subsequent
Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act (2010) represented a step forward in dangerous dogs legislation, giving primary importance to the principle of 'deed not breed'.