The London Assembly agreed a motion, in December 2016, calling on the Mayor to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to request a formal review of the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991).
The Assembly believes the Act – which uses Breed Specific Legislation to prohibit certain types of dog - has not reduced dog bite incidents and fails to protect dog welfare.
Steve O’Connell AM, who proposed the motion said:
“This is about recognising the current policies designed to protect people from dangerous dogs are not fit for purpose, as well as improving animal welfare standards.
It’s important that, if the current system is not working, we look at other ways of handling what is a growing problem.
The consequences for victims of a dog attack can be devastating and I hope the relevant authorities take note of our motion.”
Leonie Cooper AM, who seconded the motion said:
“It’s abundantly clear that the Breed Specific Legislation isn’t effective. We need stronger, more extensive legislation to reduce the number of dog attacks and bring irresponsible owners to justice.
Government must work not only with the police and councils, but organisations such as Battersea Dogs & Cats Home too, to consider the best way to protect people from dangerous dogs and safeguard animal welfare. It’s reassuring to see we have cross party consensus over what is a really important issue.”
The full text of the Motion is:
“The Assembly notes that the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991) is 25 years old this year.
It is noted that the Metropolitan Police will destroy around 300 dogs that have been seized by its officers this year.
The Status Dog Unit, a special team of police officers only dealing with dangerous dogs, has seen a 7% increase in seizures in 2016.
The Act’s aim, to use Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) (as applied through s1) to prohibit certain types of dog has not reduced dog bite incidents or the number of prohibited types of dog.
The Assembly accepts that BSL has not had a positive impact on improving human safety or protecting dog welfare.
The Assembly notes that other authorities have started to review and overturn BSL such as the Netherlands, Italy, and Lower Saxony, Germany and have identified other ways of reducing dog bite incidents.
The Assembly calls on the Mayor to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asking for a formal review of the legislation as proposed by the RSPCA and for London bodies such as the Metropolitan Police, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the stray dog services of the London Boroughs and relevant non-governmental organisations to be part of this review.”