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Calls to end BSL after new report
kyzer
Battersea has published photos of 25 banned dogs it has been forced to euthanise in the past year. Three-year-old pit bull Kyzer arrived at Battersea on 21 July and was put to sleep on 29 July.

Battersea surveys behaviour experts on dog attacks
 
The government is being urged once again to put an end to breed specific legislation, as a new report suggests it is ineffective in reducing the number of dog attacks.

July 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the Dangerous Dog Act (1991), which effectively outlawed four breeds of dog in the UK - the pit bull terrier, dogo argentino, Japanese tosa and fila braziliero.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home says it took in 91 pit bull terrier types last year. Its behavioural experts believe 71 per cent of these could have been rehomed but, as the legislation prevents this, the charity was forced to euthanise them.

Over 200 of the UK's canine behaviour experts were surveyed by the charity to identify the most common causes of dog attacks. The findings were released this week in a new report, What's breed got to do with it?.

Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of the behaviourists said the breed of dog is either irrelevant or only slightly important in determining aggression levels. For those who did believe breed was an important factor, there was little agreement on which breeds were more likely to be aggressive. All in all, 17 breeds or breed groups were mentioned, including border collies, German shepherds, Jack Russell terriers, Chihuahuas and bull breeds.

Experts pointed out that some breeds require more exercise and stimulation. Therefore, if these needs are not met by the owner, there is a greater risk of frustration and behavioural problems.

Dog socialisation, however, was cited as the most important factor in determining aggression. Eighty-six per cent of experts said the way the dog is brought up by the owner is 'very important', while 73 per cent highlighted its upbringing by the breeder before sale.

Other very important reasons given for dog aggression were pain (due to injury or a medical condition) and fear (if the dog is anxious or fearful by nature, or has suffered a traumatic experience in the past).

The majority of experts (89 per cent) dismissed the idea that size is a factor in a dog's behaviour.

When it came to answering questions on how to prevent dog attacks, nearly all experts (98 per cent) said they believed adding more breeds to the banned list would have no effect. Eight-seven per cent felt it would be helpful to educate the public on reading dog body language. There was also support for new laws to hold irresponsible owners to account, with the majority wanting to see compulsory training of new dog owners and a requirement for all breeders who sell dogs to be registered.

Commenting on the research, Battersea said dogs are not the only victims of the law. Since 1991, there have been 30 fatal dog attacks involving 16 children and 14 adults and NHS hospital admission figures show there were 7,227 hospital admissions for dog bites last year.

Images © Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from bigbutterflycount.org/.

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
WellVet reopens ticket sales to online conference platform

Following the success of its online conference, the organisers behind WellVet Weekend have re-opened ticket sales to allow new delegates to access session recordings and its online networking platform.

The day-long conference saw more than 360 veterinary professionals mix activity sessions with personal development CPD, all hosted within a virtual conference platform. Now, with more than 500 minutes of CPD available, the resource is being re-opened to allow full access to the session recordings until May 2021.

Sessions are aimed at providing delegates with a range of proactive wellbeing tools to explore to find ways of improving their mental and physical health. Tickets are limited in number and on sale at wellvet.co.uk until 30th August 2020.