Metropolitan Police prepare to put down 300 illegal dogs
The Metropolitan Police are preparing to put down 300 illegal dogs seized from their owners this year.
The Status Dogs Unit (SDU) has confirmed that hundreds of animals, most of them pit bull terriers, will be destroyed because they cannot be returned or rehomed with new owners.
Patrick O'Hara, the SDU's inspector, defended the decision by pointing out that many of the dogs scheduled to be put down are not "healthy or safe dogs to have around people".
He told Sky News: "What I can say is we have rehomed around 56 dogs this year and we won't destroy a dog without some kind of a paper trail like a disclaimer, when the dogs can't be lawfully rehomed, or a court order that says it must be destroyed.
"But if a court rules that a dog is not a danger to the public and the owner is a fit and proper person then nine times out of 10 that dog goes home."
Following a number of serious dog attacks on people, the Dangerous Dogs Act was passed in 1991, banning pit bull terriers, Japanese tosas, dogo Argentinos and fila Brasileiro dogs from being bred in Britain.
But DDA Watch, a campaign group set up to challenge the 1991 legislation, accused the Metropolitan Police of a "knee-jerk reaction".
"Animal campaigners want to see a change in the law," a spokesman said.
"Killing healthy animals that have done nothing wrong is inhumane. Dogs should be treated on a case-by-case basis and not have its fate sealed at birth because of its breed."