With the 21st anniversary of Dangerous Dog Act (DDA) protesters are out in force condemning the act.
but surely, protesting isn’t enough. If we want to improve the legislation we need to make constructive changes.
Here are my four ways the Act can be improved:
- Take pit bulls out of it. And all other breeds for that matter. The breed doesn’t make dogs dangerous. Lack of training and socialisation does.
- Standardise what ‘dangerous’ is. At the moment the definition of dangerous behaviour is basically in the hands of RSPCA inspectors and Council workers. Obviously biting is ‘dangerous’. But what about barking, rushing, barring teeth. I am not here to debate each, simply to say that universal standards are needed across the board.
- Put the law into the hands of experts. This follows from the previous point. Council inspectors are not trained in animal behaviour – they are trained in paper work and fine collection. They should be in no position to make a call which dog will in the future act dangerously or not.
- Rehabilitate Improved Offenders. Positive change in behaviour should be recognised. An owner who is doing the right thing – training and socialising their dog, should be recognised as such. Make the ‘dangerous dog’ label drop off in say, three years if the owner changes their ways.