Actor Patrick Stewart wants legislation changing so pit bulls can be allowed into the UK.
The Mirfield-born Hollywood superstar has backed a petition demanding DEFRA Secretary of State Michael Gove repeal the United Kingdom’s breed specific legislation.
The petition has been organised by Care2 which starts petitions and shares stories that inspire action.
It wants the Government to scrap The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
The Act prohibits the ownership of certain types of dogs — in particular the pit bull terrier type — without specific permission from a court. Under the Act, pit bull terriers and several other types of dogs may not be owned, bought, sold, or even rehomed from rescue centres.
Earlier this year Sir Patrick Stewart announced to his fans that a foster dog named Ginger, who had been taken in to live with him and his wife Sunny Ozell in their Los Angeles home, would not be adopted by the couple because the UK — where the family lives for part of the year — does not allow pit bulls under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Sir Patrick said: “It is essential that The Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 be re-examined. Caring, good-natured creatures are being denied homes and their owners and potential owners deprived of a healthy and loving partnership.”
The Dangerous Dogs Act is intended to improve public safety, but animal rights groups say it is unnecessary and ineffective, arguing that a dog’s behaviour is not driven by its breed but by how it is raised and treated.
Care2 CEO and Founder Randy Paynter said: “Care2 has gathered millions of signatures on hundreds of petitions over the years to reunite dogs with their families and to repeal breed-specific legislation. There is no evidence that certain breeds are naturally more aggressive than others. Better policy would be to crack down on dog fighting and to institute a public awareness campaign on how to raise happy, gentle dogs.
“We are honoured that Sir Patrick Stewart is joining Care2 in the fight for a kinder world.”