Monday, 23 February 2015

DDA Amendments 2015-Draconian Measures On The Way:

An Act designed to promote the death of innocent dogs, is changed again and man's best friend is once again attacked in another totally pointless piece of legislation.

The breed specific part of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, as amended, is set to be amended once again – the changes will come into force on Tuesday 3rd March 2015.

The changes, are contained within a piece of law called a Statutory Instrument (SI 2015 Number 138) which was unknown to the majority, until it appeared online, having been put before parliament on the 10th and 11th of February by Lord de Mauley.

The Order doesn't require any vote or debate yet introduces far reaching consequences for those who care for exempted dogs and those who are subject to section 1 of the legislation (BSL) in England and Wales.

Included in the Order are the following changes:

~ The conditions which are attached to the exemption certificate, issued by the Index of Exempted Dogs have been revised, there are some changes including the following:

The need for a dog to be tattooed as part of the exemption process will no longer be a requirement, a positive for those unfortunate to be caught up under BSL.

The implantation of the microchip as part of the exemption process is restricted to certain people and access to the exempted dog must be given for the chip to be read by an authorised person. Also, proof of insurance can be requested and five days is given to provide this.

There is a new legal requirement that the exempted dog must be kept at the same address as the person to whom the exemption certificate has been issued save for any 30 days over a 12-month period and to notify the Agency (the Index) of any proposed change of address (not to include any changes of address in the 30 days mentioned above). This new requirement is expected to cause not only confusion but serious problems for those who may for example be away on work for over 30 days a year or away visiting relatives/friends/overseas etc.

~ Ownership and Keepership of Exempted Dogs:

There is major change in that the transfer of keepership for exempted dog will only be possible if the appointed person is either dead or seriously ill and then an application must be made to the court and the police notified. 
Those who need to re-home their exempted dog due to for example housing issues will no longer be able to appoint a new keeper-not unless they are seriously ill (or die)-then an application can be made to the court and the court must look at whether the proposed keeper is a 'fit and proper' person, the temperament and past behaviour of the dog and any other circumstances deemed relevant. A long and detailed episode which most people will not be able to follow without help and cost.

This will in our opinion result in the unnecessary deaths of dogs which have already been through the courts and been found not to be of any danger to public safety and is totally unwarranted and yet another injustice delivered by BSL. If a registered owner is unable to keep their dog due to a housing issue i.e. threatened eviction due to the dog being exempted, then the dog must die - unless the current owner/keeper dies or is seriously ill.

~ Bail System:

There is a ‘bail for dogs’ system set up; enabling a dog held as a banned ‘type’ to be released to its owner whilst the court outcome is determined. 
The police will have the power to grant ‘bail’ with conditions attached (including that the dog is neutered, chipped, insured, muzzled and leashed in public places) if a ‘danger to public safety test’ has been passed by the dog. 

Whether the bail for dogs system is used is at the discretion of the authorities. (Currently there already exists a ‘leave at home’ policy which is not used in general.)

Further Information:

The Order, S.I 2015 No.138 can be found online here and there are some explanatory notes with it.

We urge you to sign the petition against it.

Please write to your MP and express your concern, asking that the Statutory Instrument is either revoked (there are 40 days from when it was put before parliament to do this – needs the support of MP’s) or amended so that more innocent dogs don’t have to die.