Dog owners have reacted angrily to proposals by Boris Johnson's Deputy Mayor or Policing Kit Malthouse to wipe entire breeds of dog off the map.
Under the plans, all bull dogs including the Staffordshire Bull Terrier would need to be registered, muzzled and neutered, effectively killing off those breeds within the UK.
Breed clubs across the country are now in the process of a letter-writing campaign to prevent these proposals from ever being implemented in the UK.
Writing in the Times earlier this week Kit Malthouse labeled the animals as "weapon dogs":
"As well as punishing owners appropriately for use of this weapon, we should be bolder about removing it from circulation altogether.In Ontario, that is what has happened. The provincial government produced a law that banned all bull breeds and derivatives, including pitbulls and the Staffordshire bull terrier. All such existing dogs had to be registered, neutered and muzzled, leading to the bull-types dying out and owners learning to love the labrador or pug. The result? A huge fall in the number of dog-related injuries and incidents. This approach manages to be both humane to those who have a dog of this type and draws a line under the problem.Serious penalties will make dog owners think twice, but surely it is time for us to look to our Commonwealth cousins and find a way gently to phase out the canine weapons that terrorise the streets of Peckham, Toxteth and Moss Side."
Kit does not mention the fact that in Ontario, owners who refused to have their pets neutered, were forced to hand them over to the state where they were then "euthanized" or killed.
In a letter to the Deputy Mayor sent yesterday, Helen Reaney of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Council writes:
Dear Mr Malthouse,The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is horrified at the irresponsible comments you made in the on-line version of The Times. Your suggestions regarding the Stafford are totally ridiculous and it is clear that any research conducted by the Deputy Mayor’s office has been totally inadequate, exhibiting an appalling degree of incompetence...
Eighteen Breed clubs across the country are now believed to be in the process of writing to Mr Malthouse about this, with anger spreading into the speciality press
While the RSPCA have also campaigned against the proliferation of "status dogs" they have instead concentrated on "the deed and not the breed"
Dangerous owners, not dangerous dogsThe problem dominated the RSPCA's first annual conference in June this year where Tim Wass, chief officer of the RSPCA inspectorate, made it clear that:"Everyone is rightly talking about dangerous owners, rather than dangerous dogs."With that in mind, the RSPCA believes that current breed-focused legislation is failing enforcers, dog owners and the dogs themselves.Any future legislation should focus on the 'deed rather than the breed' of the dog. "Dogs are a product of their environment rather than their breed, and it is the growing culture of irresponsibility that needs instead to be challenged," explains Chief Officer Wass.
Neither Boris Johnson, nor the Conservative leadership have yet given their public backing to Kit's proposals.