You, Your Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Dangerous Dogs Act
Some information to help you deal with situations which may arise
Following the tragic events on Merseyside, there has again been some confusion between Staffordshire Bull Terriers and other breeds/types of dog.
Apart from the difficulty some people have in telling breeds of dog apart, many people, and some areas of the Press, do not understand the correct temperament of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
This sometimes leads them to believe that the Stafford is (or could be) a dangerous dog which should be added to the list of banned breeds.
What should I do?
If you are challenged by someone who knows you own Staffords, or while you are walking your dogs, the most important thing is to remain calm, keep your temper and make sure your dog is under control.
There will always be these sorts of people either because the media at the time may be highlighting any bull breed incident, so that they mistakenly think that other breeds don't bite, or maybe some have had other incidents in parks etc when walking their own dog.
Continue to act as normal and do not rise to this sort of person; don't lower yourself to their level. Stay polite if asked about the breed and tell people how great they are with people, and especially with children.
If someone is being completely unreasonable, just walk away; it does the breed no good to get into slinging matches in public.
Act responsibly by keeping your dog on a lead and out of trouble.
You may know your own dog to be trustworthy but if anything happens, whether he starts it or not, he'll get the blame because of his breed.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are the 5th most popular dog in the UK for good reason but unfortunately there are some owners that act irresponsibly and give us all a bad name.
Keep your dog under control Remain calm, keep your temper
What about an “Amnesty”?
The Merseyside Police carried out a ‘dog amnesty’ and some other Councils are thought to be considering amnesties.
Dog owners in the area are asked to hand over any dog they feel may be a ‘pit bull type’ of dog to the Police, without fear of prosecution. You must understand that if you hand over your dog HE WILL BE KILLED.
What if my dog is seized?
The provisions of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 still apply in that if you do not hand over your dog under an amnesty and it is later seized, you are still under no legal obligation to sign seized dogs over for destruction.
If you sign over ownership of your dog it will be destroyed
If you don’t sign your dog over, you have the right to a Court hearing.
Only a court can order the destruction of your dog. It may be possible for the Court to order the registration of your dog onto the Index of Exempted Dogs, proving that he or she poses no threat to the public and certain requirements can be met.
How can I prove that my dog is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?
If your dog’s breed is questioned by the Police or Dog Warden, just explain that it is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
If you need to “prove” it, most Police forces will accept your KC Registration papers or the opinion of a Championship Show judge.
If you don’t have papers, or have mislaid them, contact the Secretary of the SCSBTS or any committee member.
They will arrange for someone to look at your dog and give the Police an opinion as to whether it is a Stafford.
What if my dog is not good with other dogs?
If your dog is not happy around other dogs, KEEP IT ON A LEAD AT ALL TIMES.
No Stafford should be aggressive with people.
If you are at all worried about your dog’s behaviour, seek professional help.
Don’t be bullied into handing over your dog If in doubt, seek advice
What is happening with the Dangerous Dogs Act?
For several years a Study Group (comprising of The Metropolitan Police Service, the Kennel Club, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, RSPCA, and Wandsworth Borough Council) has been working towards changes in legislation.
The long term aim is to see all breed specific references eventually removed from dangerous dog legislation, concentrating on irresponsible owners rather than type of dog.
It is expected that proposals will be ready for presentation to government later in 2007.
What about the Breed Council?
The Breed Council’s official statement on breed specific legislation is:
1 – We oppose the entire principle of breed specific legislation believing that this deflects the debate about public safety away from human and dog behaviour, focusing instead merely on appearance;
2 - Where breed specific legislation is imposed by government we reserve the right to explain why Staffordshire Bull Terriers should not be proscribed.
(Please note :- This information may not be up to date).