UK Pit Bulls: Let’s Talk Legislation

There has always been the dog breeds perceived as dangerous, from film and media use to the general public’s commissioning these dogs into their lives as security guards and status symbols. In the 80’s it was the Doberman and the Alsatian and the infamous Hooch dog; Dogue de Bordeaux, being walked down the street to cause you to cross the road, leash your dog or suddenly change direction in the park. But the most famously “dangerous” dog of all is the Pit Bull.

With a false reputation as a monster with a lock jaw, who is always dog aggressive and will eat your children; the pit bull has been dealt a bad hand by the very people who over bred and misused these dogs as status symbols and sport. I won’t go on and on in this post, but let’s just set the record straight: this is all bulls**t. Pit bulls were originally bred for a couple of uses, one being as nanny dogs to keep rats away from sleeping children and to accompany lords hunting. If we were to trace back the origins of almost every dog breed, there would be a connection to hunting or working in some manner from the jack russell as a ratter to the labrador, retrival and water dogs, you could argue that al dogs are dangerous and were designed to kill, (if you were on the pig headed, ignorant and discriminatory BSL side of the debate).

So it was decided that after the influx of illegal back street dog fighting utilising the Pit Bulls resilient and loyal nature, to deem them as Dangerous Dogs to be banned from being owned, bred, bought, sold or given away in the UK. Any dog found to be of pit bull breed was euthanised between 1991 – 1992 in the UK. The other 3 breeds found on this legislation also have strong hunting origins and are the: Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa Inu and the Fila Braziliero.

Fila Brasiliero


Dogo Argentino

So what should you do or will happen if you currently own one of these dogs in the UK? Well, your first option is emigrate. But should you choose to stay on the island, your options are slim.

  1. Try and stay under the radar and hope nobody realises or reports your dog for its breed.
  2. Go though the courts and apply for a Certificate of Exemption.
  3. Wait for somebody else to report your dog and apply for the certificate of exemption.

Taking option one requires having extremely unaware or friendly neighbours, walking your dog only in the dead of night or before sunrise and of course, as i would demand anyway, your dog is beautifully behaved and trained up to the eyeballs.

Option 2 is the most responsible and law abiding way to go about things, but by no means will it be easy… A dog will be handed over to the police for a 6 month stay in custody as an inmate under the courts ‘guardianship’ to be kept in almost isolation to be put under behaviour and temperament testing such as; food aggression, reaction to other dogs and people. The owner is not permitted to visit their dog during this time. Then the dog will be taken through the court (yes literally; your canine companion could be facing the judge just as a person does), the evidence and results of blood DNA and behavioural testing will be presented the by police and if the dog is passed as “not dangerous”, it will be given a certificate of exemption.

This Certificate of Exemption must be presented to any official council staff, dog warden or police on the spot or within 5 days or face your dog being seized again.
The dog must be muzzled and on a leash at all times in public.
The private home must be to the utmost security to prevent escape.
The dog must be neutered.
The dog may be tattooed or “tagged”  by the police before release.

If the dog is deemed “dangerous” through test failure, the dog will then be immediately put to sleep after the decision has been made final in court. There are now many lawyers and barristers becoming specialists and well acquainted in the Dangerous Act as more and more of people’s pets are being reported as “Type” dogs who are then seized, and owners are beginning to step up with the support of breed advocates to appeal and fight seizures and death sentences. As the mania spreads through uneducated owners not training their dogs and the media having field days with splattering the front pages with staffordshire bull terrier attacks, the staffy is now being suspected as Type and many are being seized for DNA genetic testing and only pass if their breed is found to be less than 20% pit or type.

The USA also has 12 states that currently do not allow the Pit Bull breed to be owned, sold or bred from: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas,Kentucky, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. The laws and procedures differ slightly and would need separate investigation.

Every dog, no matter the breed, depends on its upbringing, training and owner education to become a “good”, friendly and family dog. It is all about how we the humans, the public, the UK’s citizens, respond and react to the media circuses, the legislation changes and additions suggested, the illegal activities criminals carry out that produce money and false rumours and reputations for these dogs. It is up to owners and advocates to ensure they are as well educated as can be to bring up a dog with boundaries, limitations and respect as well as a relationship with humans.

To donate to our cause of pulling unclaimed dogs from UK deathrows please go through Friends and Family PayPal to: or visit:

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To Today’s 18; sleep tight over the rainbow bridge my darling’s RIP #18dogsadayuk


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