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Lack of evidence to support BSL, report suggests
Pitbull type Mason cannot get pet insurance as he is on the exemption list. He has had such an impact on his local community that when he was injured, they rallied round to pay for his treatment.

RSPCA says it was forced to euthanise 366 'pitbulls' in two years

The government is coming under increasing pressure to repeal breed specific legislation (BSL) as another damning report suggests it has failed to improve public safety.

Releasing its report today, the RSPCA called for a government inquiry into the effectiveness of BSL, which was introduced with the Dangerous Dogs Act 25 years ago. Section one of the act prohibits four types of dog - the pitbull, Japanese tosa, fila braziliero and dogo argentino.

The report makes 15 recommendations, including calls for BSL to be repealed as it has failed to reduce the number of dog bites and eliminate prohibited types of dog, as it was designed to do.

Instead, the RSPCA says the number of prohibited dogs is continuing to rise and figures show dog bite incidents are on the incline, with 7,227 hospital admissions in England between 2014 and 2015, compared to 4,110 in 2005.

There are also fears that the legislation is causing a number of unintended harms, including serious dog welfare concerns, burdens on police and animal welfare charities and stress for the families of seized dogs.

The RSPCA has been forced to euthanise 366 dog identified as 'type' in the past two years alone, including those that could have been rehomed. The report raises concerns about compromised animal welfare during the process of seizing and kennelling dogs, often for extended periods of time.

While BSL is used in many countries, the report says there is a lack of evidence to support it and three European governments and many US administrations have abandoned it. A number of other countries, including Canada, have managed to reduce dog bites using other approaches that focus on responsible dog ownership.

As a result, the RSPCA has made a number of recommendations focusing on better education (particularly of children) and legislation recognising that any dog can bite, regardless of breed or type. While section one of the act is still in place, steps must also be taken to allay concerns about dog welfare - for example, allowing more opportunities for rehoming and speeding up the processing of cases.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: "We conclude that breed specific legislation has not achieved its objectives while causing unintended harms - a new approach is required.

"The RSPCA believes believes it is paramount for the government to launch an inquiry into the effectiveness of BSL, assess other options to improve human safety and dog welfare, and ultimately repeal the breed specific part of the legislation."

Image © RSPCA

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Nominations open for National Cat Awards 2020

News Story 1
 UK charity Cats Protection has announced that cat owners can nominate their pets for the National Cat Awards 2020 starting today.

The awards take place annually, celebrating heart warming stories of the positive impact that cats have on their owners. Cat owners have until Thursday 12 March to submit their nominations through the Cats Protection website. 

Click here for more...
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Restriction zone lifted at Suffolk chicken farm

A one-kilometre restriction zone around a commercial chicken farm in mid-Suffolk has been lifted, following the completion of surveillance testing for avian influenza H5N3 with negative results.

Some 27,000 birds on the premises were culled after a veterinary surgeon identified the disease while investigating a fall in egg production. Poultry keepers are urged to take action to reduce the risk of disease in their flock by following government advice on biosecurity.