We know the saying “never judge a book by its cover”. Unfortunately, it’s something we fail to apply to animals – especially dogs.
Bailey, a bright, friendly and adorable pup. But by law, he was ordered to be put down, purely because of how he looks – something he has no control over.
According to Caroline Allen, the Chief Veterinary Officer of the RSPCA, the reason behind this heartbreaking decision lies in what she refers to as a law that is outdated and ineffective on the whole.
This legislation is called the Dangerous Dogs Act, or the BSL, which stands for Breed Specific Legislation.
The BSL is a law that requires that specific types of dogs are euthanized.
Bailey, an extremely loving and playful pup with nothing but gentleness in his heart, meets those requirements.
While at the RSPCA, Bailey showed no signs of aggression whatsoever.
He was obviously kind and sweet – and his life had to be taken away, on the orders of officials.
The pup welfare expert with the RSPCA, Dr. Sam Gaines, who is also the head author behind a book discussing breed-related laws, says that this is hardly an unusual story.
Plenty of innocent dogs who do not show any signs of aggression or anger whatsoever, and who are 100% suitable to be placed in brand new homes, end up being put down.
These pups are entirely and completely safe to be out in public, but they are considered dangerous just because of their breed.
The BSL has been well-known to be unfair, ineffective, and extremely out of date.
It’s a law that certainly needs replacing, and it robs countless dogs of their lives.
On top of that, in the UK, this law means that four types of pups are not allowed to be owned in any homes, and they are all breeds that were originally bred for fighting purposes, including:
- Dogo Argentino
- Pit Bull terrier
- Fila Braziliero
- Japanese Tosa
This means that any pups who could possibly be of these breeds are taken by police, stuck in kennels, as they are forcefully assessed to determine whether or not they are of these “bad”, “dangerous” dog type.
This means these pups are ripped from homes and left in cramped, unusual environments awaiting assessment, and their mental and physical health can suffer because of it.
And of course, some end up being put down – and in the year 2017 alone, 81 pups faced a tragic end this way.
Luckily, there is a loophole around these laws.
Pups of these breeds can be allowed to live if their owners are deemed fit to raise them, and if they do not pose a threat – but they also have to live by a large number of rules.
They must always be walked on leashes and wearing muzzles when in public, but being so forcefully restrained can have adverse effects on a dog’s psyche.
Some pups have fallen victim to unfair BSL laws. Carole, who adopted five-month-old Fudge from a rescue, had the police called on her by a neighbour because the pup looked like a Pit Bull.
Carole had never heard of the BSL, and her pup was taken away and euthanized, leaving her terrified of adopting again.
As a law that has never been proven to actually work, it’s one that needs amending and changing before more dogs are hurt.
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