The Blog

Pit Bulls, Witchhunts, Genocide and Dogifestos

Pit Bulls are the most vilified and legislated-against type of dog in UK history and had the Dangerous Dogs Act done the job that Kenneth Baker and the Tory government had intended it to do, the 1991 generation would have been the last. The Act ordered all Pit Bull types to be neutered or killed.

If the dog that killed the baby this week (see police report here) is ruled to have been a Pit Bull type, in my opinion it further proves that the Dangerous Dogs Act doesn't work on any level.

And if that very specific and extreme piece of legislation didn't work, why is anyone else calling for more legislation?

Pit Bulls are the most vilified and legislated-against type of dog in UK history and had the Dangerous Dogs Act done the job that Kenneth Baker and the Tory government had intended it to do, the 1991 generation would have been the last. The Act ordered all Pit Bull types to be neutered or killed.

Pit Bull genocide by government order.

Despite what has been described by many legal experts as the most radical, undemocratic and extreme piece of legislation on our statute books we now have very many more of these dogs than we ever had before.

The Tory government faced with a media frenzy, announced that killing all the Pit Bulls was the solution.

Kenneth Baker's autobiography reveals that it was very oddly the Kennel Club's top dog that had called for all Pit Bulls to die, but Kenneth had softened this to 'die or be neutered' as he didn't think the voters would like it very much.

The way the law defines a Pit Bull is just about as logical and fair as how we used to decide if a woman was a witch in the 17th century.

If someone accuses your dog of being a Pit Bull type it will probably be removed by a group of police officers and people with long poles.

The dog will be taken away to a secret kennels and a tape measure and a series of seemingly random dimensions will determine whether your dog is dangerous and illegal.

Many law-abiding upstanding people (teachers, nurses etc) used to fear that knock on the door - some still do.

In the early 1990s perfectly behaved pet dogs were ripped from their homes in the night by police wearing riot gear.

Dogs that had never hurt anyone were killed because of a tape measure.

Thankfully, due to a slight, but hard fought-for amendment to the act, you can now, at a cost, appeal.

Many dogs have been taken.

Above: Actor Tom Hardy with Pit Bull pup on the set of the movie The Drop that is said to change the way people feel about this breed.

Dogs that had never shown any aggression to anyone or anything, ever.

Many dogs that were very definitely not Pit Bulls at all.

But for some reason you can't use DNA evidence to fight the tape measure, that evidence is banned.

And even if the tape measure confirms that your mum and dad and your brothers and sisters and your puppies are not Pit Bulls - you can still be one.

Those that are now calling for even more legislation, in the wake of this most recent tragic child death, must realise that if this dog, now dead, is retrospectively branded a witch - sorry, I mean a dog of the Pit Bull type - there was already the legislation in place to have prevented this dog from even being born.

But, had the attempted genocide worked, if all the Pit Bulls in Britain were dead, would babies really be safe?

How about if all the dogs in the world were killed, would babies never die?

Or would the obvious lack of adequate adult supervision that led to many of these terrible dog-related deaths just mean that a percentage would go on to drown in garden pools, swallow bleach or fall and hit their heads on sharp corners of furniture?

I am just making the point that even on this very simple, tangible, measurable direct effect of the Dangerous Dogs Act - it has completely failed to save these children.

Isn't it time to accept that accidents happen and people make mistakes.

Did you know many more people die of slipper or balloon related accidents than dog bites? That A&E see more fatalities due to horse riding accidents than dog-related injuries?

One in four homes contains a dog. Nine million or so dogs that never hurt anyone. Many more contain dangerous slippers and balloons that have so far evaded legislation.

Yet, despite almost constant media vilification ever-growing numbers of people are happy to take a Pit Bull-type dog into their homes seemingly completely oblivious of the amazingly strong law that states they should all be neutered, muzzled, chipped, insured and actually not existing at all!

What notice would anyone ever take of the dog license when the good old British public have managed to dodge Pit Bull genocide and turned it into population growth?

In my opinion the only way to start to tackle any of the real issues of dogs in society is to make breeding have a consequence, to slow down the flow - stem the flood of passive dog ownership that sees us kill so many routinely. More than 20 surplus healthy, but apparently unfashionable, dogs are now killed by us in Britain every day.

The license is just another red herring that can make the government look like it is doing something when it's put in the corner by the press.

But think of all the money we wasted policing the DDA and taking distressed owners to court because their dogs looked a certain way.

What was the point?

We wasted all that time measuring completely random dogs that had never hurt anyone when that money could have saved so many children's lives by spending it on educating parents on how to keep them safe.

Or even just sending them covers for all their electric sockets or safety catches for their bleach cupboards.

I think we have to accept that some accidents will happen, we are human - we make mistakes.

Perhaps we should even show our compassion to the 1991 Conservative government - it had been whipped into a frenzy by the media and encouraged to react aggressively. Anyone would have lashed out.

But should we ever forgive the successive governments that looked at this ludicrous piece of legislation and merely tweaked it without putting it to sleep?

Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats - they've all been as clueless as one another. It's no good asking which was the dog's best friend, they were all as bad.

I've thought about this a lot in the last few decades and the only way of getting MPs to take dog issues seriously is to take the lead.

Ukip's stance on Europe got all the other parties wanting to pinch their voter friendly ideas. So why not do a bit if of a Nigel for the dog, too?

One in four households have a dog. A quarter of the electorate, yet does any of the main parties have a dogifesto...?

Do you think it's time that dog lovers became political animals? Do you think that our current dog legislation is barking mad?

If there was a Puppy Party would you vote for it?

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