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Dangerous Dogs Act still failing to protect our children after 20 years

12 Aug 2011

The Dangerous Dogs Act is still failing to prevent attacks on children, 20 years to the day since it came into force, according to The Blue Cross.

The legislation was introduced on 12 August 1991 after public outrage sparked by a vicious dog attack on six-year-old Rukhsana Khan in Bradford, which left her with life-changing injuries.

Emergency laws were rushed through parliament to criminalise dangerous behaviour in dogs and ban four types of dog, most notably the pit bull terrier.

But just last week a seven-year-old boy in Essex was horrifically mauled by a Rottweiler, which we believe is the latest tragic evidence that this much-criticised legislation has failed to protect the public from dog attacks.

Despite a public consultation on dangerous dogs last year, which revealed 78 per cent of respondents would like to see an improved law, the government has failed to announce its plans to address these pressing dog control issues.

The Blue Cross is calling for a comprehensive overhaul of the law.

Steve Goody, director of external affairs at The Blue Cross, says: “Today marks 20 years of the failing Dangerous Dogs Act which was introduced as a knee-jerk and ill-considered reaction to shocking dog attacks.

“The awful injuries suffered by Rukhsana Khan were a catalyst to bring in this law but, as last week’s attack shows, this legislation is still failing to properly protect the public and particularly our children.

“It demonises certain breeds purely for the way they look while authorities are unable to step in to prevent aggressive behaviour before an attack takes place.”

Steve adds: “Animal charities have been highlighting the weaknesses of this law for years but now the public has spoken and it is time for the government to act.”

Find out more about the Dangerous Dogs Act and what The Blue Cross thinks about it.