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Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

What is BSL? 

Muzzled dog Mason because of Breed Specific Legislation © RSPCA

Breed Specific Legislation was introduced 26 years ago as part of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to restrict the ownership of certain types of dogs deemed to be dangerous to people. 

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.

There is no research to demonstrate that these breeds or types are any more aggressive than other dogs.

Whether or not a dog is aggressive can be influenced by factors such as how they are bred and reared and experiences throughout their life. Breed is not a good predictor of risk of aggression. And, despite the legislation, dog bites in the UK continue to increase.

Breed specific legislation not only fails to protect public safety, but has also resulted in the suffering and destruction of hundreds of dogs, that are deemed ‘dangerous’ simply because of how they look.

We've put together a report about our proposed solutions and recommendations called Breed Specific Legislation: A dog's dinner

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