Exhibits mount for expanding the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 banned breed list
LONDON, U.K.––Spokespersons for the Royal SPCA, Dogs Trust, and other advocacy organizations keep telling the British public that breed is not a reliable indication of behavior.
Bully breed dogs keep making fools of them, amid ongoing debate about whether and how to amend the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
New “trigger”: a 71-year-old sunbathing
The latest round of assurances from advocacy group trainers, behaviorists, and others with alphabet soup after their names, but apparent inability to read either news or numbers, followed the June 3, 2023 mauling death of Sue Pateman, 71, in Bedworth, Warwickshire.
Pateman was reportedly attacked without a hint of provocation while sunbathing in a chaise lounge at the home occupied by three generations of her family.
Her daughter Anita Singh, 49, an office worker, suffered “non-life threatening injuries” in attempting to rescue her mother, and was transported to hospital.
Anita Singh and her husband Jas “Billy” Singh, a builder, were charged with alleged violations of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, including suspicion of possessing a banned breed of dog and owning a dog who was dangerously out of control.
A husky killing an infant does not prove “bully breeds” are safe
Apologists for “bully breeds” pointed out that only three days before Sue Pateman was killed, Vince King, 55, admitted being out of control of the husky sled dog who killed his three-year-old daughter, Kyra Leanne King, in her stroller at Ostlers Plantation, near Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, on March 6, 2022.
Karen Alcock, mother of the victim, earlier confessed to the same charge.
Huskies are high risk––just not in the “bully” class
Vince King and Karen Alcock were training two teams of racing huskies, comprising 19 dogs in all, when the killing occurred.
But Kyra Leanne King was the only dog attack fatality victim among the most recent 30 in the U.K., dating back to 2015, who was not killed by “bully breeds.”
Huskies, further, are also not historically regarded as “safe” dogs, having killed 11 people in Canada since 2004, one more than pit bulls, and having killed 21 people in the U.S. since 1982, more than any other breeds except pit bulls (612), Rottweilers (119), and German shepherds (27).
The usual suspects from the Royal SPCA, Dogs Trust, et al had no sooner delivered their usual predictable paens to pit bulls, their variants, and derivatives, than on the very next day, June 4, 2023, an 11-year-old autistic boy named Ali was facially mauled in Monsall, near Manchester, by a dog officially unidentified but believed to have been a “bully” type.
The 35-year-old dog owner, a female who was not named, was arrested on suspicion of having a dog dangerously out of control.
This is a violation of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 which will be compounded if the dog who injured the 11-year-old is formally identified as a banned breed.
Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans four “foreign” bully breeds
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 prohibits possession of four “foreign” bully breeds, specifically the American pit bull terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasiliero, and Japanese tosa, but allows pit bulls identified by any other name, including Staffordshire, American Bully, Bull Mastiff, Olde English Bulldog, and Cane Corso, among many others having the same general body type and history of use in fighting and baiting.
“Staffordshires” did not come from Staffordshire
“Staffordshire” was introduced as a breed name by American dogfighter John P. Colby, who produced his first fighting dog litter in 1888.
NewspaperArchive.com, including British media since 1607, shows no use of the term “Staffordshire” to describe a dog breed before Colby began selling some of his dogs to British “fanciers,” as dogfighters of the era styled themselves.
Despite that history, “fanciers” in 1991 persuaded Parliamentarians who did not do their research that “Staffordshires” are not pit bulls and were a traditional British breed.
Where “American Bully XL” came from
“American Bully,” “American Bulldog,” and variants of those names were introduced by American dogfighter John D. Johnson, who in a 2005 affidavit described how he crossed pit bulls with mastiffs to produce them.
Since the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 took effect, 71 dogs have participated in killing 56 people within the U.K.
Fifty-nine of the dogs––83%––were of bully breeds, including 20 Staffordshires and nine American Bully XLs. All of the attacks by dogs dubbed American Bully XL have come since 2020.
Rising pressure on Parliament
There is rising pressure on Parliament to amend the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
The Daily Mail, the most widely read British newspaper and news website, along with many other leading newspapers, editorially favors expanding the list of dogs prohibited by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to exclude most “bully breeds” from the UK.
The Royal SPCA, Dogs Trust, and the Kennel Club, among other dog advocacy organizations, have aggressively campaigned ever since the passage of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 for abolition of the banned breeds list, and for regulations which would in effect require that a dog have injured someone, or have killed another animal, before the dog could be labeled dangerous.
“At least one dangerous dog a day”
Meanwhile, reported Michael Goodier for the Guardian on June 4, 2023, “The Metropolitan police,” serving Greater London, “are dealing with at least one dangerous dog every day.
“Police data shows the force seized 479 out-of-control dogs last year under the Dangerous Dogs Act – up from 333 in 2021 and 336 in 2019,” Goodier detailed.
Of the 154 dogs impounded for dangerous behavior during the first five months of 2023, Goodier learned through Freedom of Information Act requests, 44 were classed “44 American bullies” and 16 were “Staffordshire bull terrier mixes.”
Wrote Goodier, “The figures add to BBC research which found the number of dog attacks recorded by police in England and Wales had risen by more than a third in the past five years.”
However, Goodier added, “Metropolitan police figures show that, while the number of dangerous dog seizures rose last year, the number of people being charged remains low.
“The force made 40 arrests for dangerous dogs out of control in 2022, compared with 186 a decade earlier,” Goodier observed.
“Sixteen people were charged,” Goodier said, “lower than the 20 charged in 2020, and down significantly from 102 in 2012,” even as the 10 dog attack deaths in the U.K. in 2022 were the most on record in any one year ever.