The young pitbull terrier was destroyed shortly after these uplifting scenes of him playing with his dog toys like millions of contented pets. Yet because Bailey was one of four breeds banned under 27 year old laws he had to die as he could never be re-homed. The RSPCA today released heart-breaking footage of Bailey playing at a rescue centre shortly before being put to sleep when it criticised to the Government’s decision not to review a controversial section of the Dangerous Dog Act.
The video tells how one year old pitbull terrier Bailey, a “playful, happy and friendly dog” when he came into the charity’s care last year through no fault of his own, was doomed.
Legally, the RSPCA could not pass Bailey to a new family and so had no alternative but to put him to sleep – ensuring his last few hours alive were spent playing like a much-loved pet.
In Bailey’s honour, the RSPCA says it will continue campaigning against Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) because so many dogs are being let down by current laws. The charity is speaking out after ministers replied to recent recommendations from the influential Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) that saw MPs calling to end the ban on specific dog breeds.
Four types of dog – pitbull terriers, fila Brasiliero, dogo Argentino and Japanese tosa – were outlawed in 1991, leading to thousands subsequently “paying the ultimate price”, says the RSPCA, which has been calling for a law review along with other animal welfare charities.
While there are 3,530 prohibited dogs being kept under strict conditions to “protect public safety” – the vast bulk pitbulls – those finding themselves arriving at rescue centres end up in dire peril because they cannot be put up for adoption.
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Friendly Bailey appears in RSPCA video (Image: RSPCA)
Ministers have told MPs the Government considers “the prohibition on possession of such dogs should remain in place for reasons of maintaining public safety”.
Responding to the announcement, RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Sam Gaines said today: “We are extremely disappointed that the Government is still suggesting that prohibited types of dogs are more dangerous than other types of dogs and that they are involved in a disproportionately high number of attacks on people, including fatalities.
"The RSPCA, in its evidence to EFRA, made it very clear that in the absence of robust data around the dog population such claims cannot be made and it is misleading to do so.
“We are also hugely disappointed that despite EFRA recommending changes which would mean that friendly and re-homeable banned types of dogs could avoid being put to sleep, the Government is unwilling to do so.
Banned breed campaign poster from RSPCA (Image: RSPCA)
"For the past 27 years thousands of dogs have paid the ultimate price as a result of this draconian and unjust legislation which penalises dogs simply for the way they look. This has lead to the unnecessary destruction of hundreds of friendly and well-behaved family pets and dogs that organisations like ourselves could rehome.
“We’re looking forward to the conclusions of the research project currently being undertaken by Middlesex University.
"Our own research has shown that there is a lack of scientific evidence to support BSL and positive evidence against it.
"We remain confident that the outcome of the research will be one which recommends breed neutral legislation and that Government will act on this.
RSPCA poster calling for end to dog ban laws (Image: RSPCA)
RSPCA dog expert Dr Sam Gaines campaign against dog law (Image: RSPCA)
“The Government urgently needs to act on this; public safety and the lives of thousands more innocent dogs in the future rely on it.”
EFRA chairman Neil Parish MP was also critical of the Government’s decision to continue to judge dogs purely by breed.
He said: “There must be more focus on the owner and not the breed. The destruction of a dog based purely on its breed is cruel and often unnecessary.”
Animal welfare charities and MPs, however, have reacted favourably to ministers’ intentions of committing to research around dog control measures, establishing a centralised dog bite data bank and supporting better childhood education on dog safety.
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