Submitted by Steve on 12:36, 12th Aug, 2021 | 0

The GSPCA along with the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs’ Home, and the Kennel Club (to name a few) supports a review of the Dangerous Dog Act 1991 and all breed specific legislation and policies. However, sadly most welfare campaigners believe DEFRA will be unlikely to want to backtrack on this outdated Legislation that has now been in place for 30 years.

A Policy review by the British Veterinary Associaton in April 2021 states that "all dogs, whatever their breed type or size, are capable of showing aggression. It is important to recognise that multiple factors can contribute to the development of canine aggression and dog biting incident." The Review goes on to suggest that "the UK governments should prioritise an evidence-based ‘deed-not-breed’ approach to dog control. This can be achieved through:

• Repealing Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991);

• Effective enforcement and consolidation of existing dog control legislation;

• Commissioning additional research and establishing a centralised dog biting incident database; and

• Promoting safe dog-human interactions and responsible ownership through education and campaign programmes."

Lorna Chadwick GSPCA Welfare and Behaviour Manager and Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager who have worked at Battersea Dogs’ Home and the RSPCA, respectively, have seen first-hand the animal welfare implications of the Act that has resulted in many loving friendly dogs, including pups, being euthanised because of what they look like. Being classed as ‘type’ means that any dogs that meets specific measurements, even pedigree dogs and crosses of, can be deemed ‘dangerous’.

“While we would fully support a legislation to protect the public, breed is not a predicator of aggression, and any dog has the potential to be out of control and dangerous if it has been purposely trained to do so or has received incorrect training from a so called ‘professional’ and/or its owner.”  said Lorna the GSPCA Welfare and Behaviour Manager. 

“The focus should be on responsible dog ownership and the owners of dogs being held accountable for the behaviour of the dog they raise.”

“Any breed specific legislation or policy is not fit for purpose and demonstrates a lack of understanding of canine behaviour and is not in the interest of animal welfare.”

“Sadly, it also creates trophy dogs for those who like to boast about their ‘banned breed types’.”

“This year the GSPCA has seen a marked increase in the number of requests from families in Guernsey seeking help with rehoming or providing emergency shelter for their dogs as they have been unable to take certain breed types into rented accommodation whether that be private or social housing.”

“Some of these dogs have been with their owners since they were puppies and are now in their twilight years.”

“These owners are trying to be responsible by fulfilling their commitment to their dog and caring for them until the end and would rather be homeless than part with them and the effects of the mental and physical health of the dogs and their owners has been devastating.”

“While there is no Dangerous Dogs Act in Guernsey some breed specific policies have been put in place by landlords who aren't really aware of the failings of the Act.”

Steve Byrne, GSPCA Manager said “At the GSPCA we help thousands of dogs every year in many ways from strays to those cruelly treated, those needing homes to our boarding facilities.”

“Each dog is an individual and no matter their breed we treat each with the respect, love and care they deserve.”

“While working in the UK at the RSPCA we regularly dealt with dogs that were classed as ‘Banned Breeds’ who were lovely, friendly and well trained and each case due to the law in England and Wales was always a horrendous process for all involved.”

“We are very lucky in Guernsey not to have the same laws and it is well overdue in the UK for these to be reviewed.”

“We must ensure safety for dogs and humans, but banning specific breeds is certainly not the best way to achieve this as every dog like human being is unique.”

“At the GSPCA we look forward seeing the developments in the UK with review on the Dangerous Dogs Act.”

“In Guernsey we also need to ensure we treat dogs fairly and not tar breeds with specific laws or rules and should take each on its merits, behaviour and the responsibility of the owner.”

“In Guernsey we do see some breed specific list as Social Housing and the GHA both have lists of breeds considered suitable for their properties.”

“It is important that each home has animals suitable for that environment but at the GSPCA we assess each individual animal and home rather than having lists of suitable or banned breeds as this is unfair both on the individual animal and the potential owners.”

“We help hundreds of animals find new homes each year and for those interested in finding out more please do get in touch or visit our website .”

To visit the Guernsey Social Housing Pet Policy please visit and breed list

To visit the GHA Pet Policy please visit


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