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Breed Specific Legislation: A dog's dinner says RSPCA after Hank is spared death

Published 09/08/2016

Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home.
(Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Hank the dog visited the Belfast Telegraph offices on Friday to say thanks to helping in the successful campaign to bring him home. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

Breed specific dog legislation - the law which saw Belfast dog Hank snatched from his owners and put on death row - is unnecessary and hundreds of pets have been put down needlessly, the RSPCA have warned.

The animal charity has called for a change in the law which regularly sees animals put down because of their breed.

The Dangerous Dogs Act forces police and many animal rescue organisations to put dogs down because of the way they look rather than the danger they pose, the RSPCA says.

The law - which banned the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo argentino and fila braziliero breeds based on their physical appearance - was introduced 25 years ago last month.

Recently, Hank was taken from his home in east Belfast and held by Belfast City Council while an expert assessed his breed.

While he was found to be a pit bull terrier, his good nature meant he was deemed to 'not pose a risk to the public'.

More:

Outcry over Hank's seizure leads to council rethink over its dangerous dogs policy  

Hank becomes a newshound as he captures Tele team's hearts  

In the past two years the RSPCA said it had been "forced" to put 366 dogs down under section one of the Act, which covers breed-specific offences.

Jillian Bearns, Larne with Dixie & Dexter say welcome home to Hank
Jillian Bearns, Larne with Dixie & Dexter say welcome home to Hank
Sofia welcomes Hank from Chile. Sender: Paola Chavez Pacheco
From Marley & Lyka in the hills of Donegal
Happy for Hank from Lesley Beak in Canada.
Welcome home Hank from Dora, Alfie and Molly. Pic: Marcella Mervyn
Mia McKinty and her friends from Bangor send a warm word of welcome home to Hank and his family
Welcome home Hank from Suki and Simba. Pic: Nic Cullen Belfast.
A big welcome home from Mr Darcy & his friend Mao the cat in Dublin.
Welcome home Hank from Troy who sleeps most of the day but is still very happy that Hank has been released. From Janet and Noah
"Welcome home Hank! So glad the right thing was done! Bruce, my 14-week-old boxer is glad too" from Kerry Campbell Omagh, Co Tyrone
Luca Burns from Cork says welcome home Hank
Jack and Poppy and their owner Jane Bailie from Bangor wish Hank all the best for the future
Ollie and his owner Pat Canning from Belfast tell Hank that he's welcome to their home anytime
Riley and his owner Helen Bindley from Larne wish Hank every happiness in the future
Paddy and Reilly, Irish Water spaniels, from Co Down, hope that Hank will be home soon
Jess and Jodi Moore-Skelly welcome Hank back home
Inca the poodle of the McClatchey family welcomes Hank back home
Monte, Derry and Tripoli from Seattle and cared for by Dave Geisert are are anxiously looking for Hank to get back home
Renata Paluch from Hull are delighted that Hank is getting to go home
Macey and Bella Johnston send Hank their love
It's a woof woof from Bobby Beattie
Here's Toby the Springer Spaniel from Ballymena
Pretty Tilly McKevitt from Portadown is delighted that Hank is going back to his family
Tillie and Henry Wellstead say welcome home to Hank and back to the cuddles that you deserve
'Welcome home Hank from a fellow Bully'
Pluto Beveridge really is happy that Hank is getting home
Lucy (jack russell) and Reggie (rottweiler) send Hank their love from Luton
Poodle Freya and her ownerJenella are delighted Hank is coming home
Tazz is delighted Hank is getting home
Husky pack Duke, Sky, Max, Arya, DJ and Roman welcome Hank home
Frank and his family in Belfast are delighted that Hank will be released
Even cats are delighted that Hank the dog is coming home
Pippa and her humans Michelle, Mark, Matthew and Chloe from Magheralin Co.Armagh are so happy Hank's life has been saved.
Welcome home Hank!! ????from Karen and Alfie Castlederg xo
Rescue dogs Rudy and Lexie from Armagh want to welcome Hank home. Owner Paula said: "they both came from council pounds so they know how it feels to be locked up".
Welcome home Hank lots of love Rebel and Bubba from Lisburn
Welcome home Hank from Karen Connor & Amy the pom from Bangor, Co Down
Welcome home Hank. Paws and licks from Cotto, Ballymena.
Tax Button and Poppy say #hanksaved
Welcome home Hank
Welcome home Hank
Hughie from Belfast says welcome home Hank - you deserve a huge pat on the back and lots of doggy treats after all you've been through #braveboy
Welcome home Hank from Dexter!
Lynn Paul, from Ballysillan in Belfast with Max.
From Pauline Sleator
My dog Fern and I would love to wish Hank a happy homecoming! We are in New York City, where many happy pit bulls live without being banned. Fern is a certified therapy dog that volunteers with senior citizens:Jillian Hayes.
Welcome home Hank from Sophie the Staffie and Peter Knight, Ballyholme, Bangor.
Gina Love and her pet Goober from the Shetland Islands welcomed Hank home.
Here's looking at you kid! Welcome home Hank from Jeannie and Sherrie. Sent in by Rosemary Craig.
Kelly Anne Webster says: "We havnt stopped thinking about Hank an Pixie wants to say 'Welcome Home'" You will never go through this again."
Owners Leanne and Stevie with Rafa 7 and Harley 6 from Bangor
Mel McConnell from Newtownards: "This is Suki my 9 yr old jr terrier welcoming Hank home"
From Allison McKenna, Belfast
Quinton - from Anya Connor in Belfast.
Welcome home Hank from Coops.
Welcome home Hank from Reggie the Jack Russell and his friend Pebbles the tabby cat in Coleraine.
Welcome home Hank from Max. Pic: Nicola Totten
Diesel, Logan and Kaiser say welcome home Hank.
Welcome home Hank from Meg. Pic: Ann Marie Smith.
Welcome home Hank from Niko, Nhala and Storm. Pic: Karen Dando
Welcome Home Hank from Poppy in Newtownabbey. Pic: Lyndsey Minford
Welcome home Hank from Phoebe and Ruby. Pic: Erin McAllister
Welcome home Hank from Pippin.
Maddie in Ards says Welcome home Hank. Pic: Amy Black
Welcome home Hank from Tiny in Dungannon.
Hugo and Sully from north Belfast say Welcome home Hank. Pic: Leah Davis
Walt from Belfast says Welcome Home Hank. Pic: Russell Adams
Walt from Belfast says Welcome Home Hank. Pic: Russell Adams
Welcome Home Hank. Pic: Anna Salmon
Pixie and Benjie, from owner Laura mcmahon in Belfast
Troy and Baby Girl, from east Belfast from owner Sharon Brown.
Roxi from Bangor from owner William Bradford.
Claude from Belfast, owner Anya Connor.
Boxer Cara and Jackhuahua Pepsi welcome Hank home from Paula Beattie and family, Carryduff.
Welcome home Hank!! Such fabulous news! Lots of love from Manni and family from Liz Clark.
Cooper from Newtownards.

Launching its report Breed Specific Legislation: A Dog's Dinner, the charity called on the Government to probe the effectiveness of section one, urging it to be repealed completely.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: "The police, the RSPCA and other animal rescue organisations have to deal with the consequences of this flawed law by euthanising hundreds of dogs because legislation is forcing us to due to the way they look, despite being suitable for rehoming.

"Not only is this a huge ethical and welfare issue, it also places significant emotional strain on staff."

The RSPCA said there was not enough evidence to show that such legislation reduced dog bites and called into question the evidence required to classify a dog as being of a prohibited type.

Dr Gaines added: "The RSPCA believes it is paramount for the Government to launch an inquiry into the effectiveness of BSL (breed-specific legislation), assess other options to improve human safety and dog welfare, and ultimately repeal the breed specific part of the legislation."

Dog behaviour expert Victoria Stilwell threw her weight behind the campaign, condemning the legislation.

She said: "BSL tears apart families while punishing innocent dogs and their guardians solely because of a dog's appearance. Any dog can bite under the right circumstances, so legislation should focus on protecting the public through responsible pet guardianship rather than targeting a particular breed."

Last month Battersea Dogs and Cats Home released a report calling on the Government to review the Dangerous Dogs Act, saying current legislation is "flawed" and instead should target irresponsible owners.

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