An adorable dog was ordered to be put to sleep due to what the RSPCA called an ‘outdated and ineffective’ law.
Bailey, who was described as ‘gentle’ and ‘friendly’ by RSPCA chief veterinary officer Caroline Allen, was ordered to be destroyed by officials because of how he looks, and spent his final few hours playing with staff.
The Dangerous Dogs Act, also known as Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), requires certain breeds of dogs to be put to sleep.
As the RSPCA explains on its website: “In the UK, BSL bans the ownership of four different types of dogs traditionally bred for fighting: pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero.
“Dogs suspected of being a banned type are typically seized by the police and can spend significant time in kennels away from their owners during which they are assessed to determine whether or not the dog is a banned type.
“Whilst some dogs will return home to be kept under strict conditions, sadly, some have to be euthanised – because of the way they look.”
In 2017, 81 dogs were put down due to how they look – the RSPCA says that ‘most’ of these dogs could have been safely and happily rehomed, but the law wouldn’t allow it.
Allen said: “Bailey was a lovely, friendly, happy dog. He was gentle and kind, playful and fun-loving.
“In any other circumstances we’d have helped him get better, sent him to one of our rehoming centres and found him a wonderful family to spend the rest of his life with.
“But Bailey’s life was tragically and unfairly cut short due to BSL.”
The animal welfare charity is now urging the government to rethink the law and instead introduce a new law that focuses on early intervention with dogs who are showing signs of ‘concerning behaviour‘, whatever their breed. The charity is also hoping for a stronger emphasis on educating people, especially children and youngsters, on how to be safe around dogs.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Sam Gaines, who was a lead author on a report about BSL, added: “Bailey’s story is heartbreaking and, sadly, it’s one I hear all too often.
“These are dogs who have shown no signs of aggressive behaviour and given no indications that they would be unsuitable for rehoming.
RSPCA staff say Bailey may have been a perfect candidate for rehoming but was never given the chance. Credit: RSPCA
“They pose no risk to public safety but are labelled ‘dangerous’ simply because they look a certain way.
“They’ve scored a certain number of ticks on a check list and that has sealed their fate.
“BSL is an outdated, ineffective and unjust piece of legislation that urgently needs replacing.
“We need to change this law not only to save the lives of thousands more dogs like Bailey, but also to better protect public safety.”
However, the government has announced this week that it would not commit to any changes at this time.
If you’d like to sign the petition to scrap BSL you can do so here.
Featured Image Credit: RSPCA