A VET says laws on dangerous dogs should focus on “deed, not breed”.
The House of Lords was yesterday debating plans to give councils new powers to target the owners of dangerous dogs.
Proposals include the introduction of “dogbos” – anti-social behaviour orders for dog owners.
The Dog Control Bill would replace the Dangerous Dogs Act which has been in place for two decades despite being widely criticised.
Martin Paterson, partner at Donaldson and Partners vets in Aspley, said there needed to be a shift in emphasis.
“The legislation ought to be based on deed not breed,” he said.
“While we all recognise that there are some breeds which are known statistically to have more aggressive individuals, at the end of the day it should not be about banning the breed, but about banning the aggressive dog.
“There are all sorts of issues in terms of identifying exactly what breed a dog is because, for example, certain cross-breeds will have pitbull characteristics in their genetic make-up and how much is in there is often difficult to determine.
“Differentiating a pitbull from a Staffy, which can look physically similar, is a real issue. Basing things on the dog’s temperament seems the logical way forward.”
The 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act banned ownership, breeding, sale or exchange of four types of dogs – the pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the dogo Argentino and the fila Brasileiro.