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.

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


The Dog Pound: UK

We all remember the dog pound from Disney’s “Lady & the Tramp”, the dog catchers portrayed as evil with their catch poles crawling about in their cage van searching for dogs to catch and take back like it was their hobby. A dark and dingy place full of dogs in cold kennels looking sad, lost and alone. The little brown mutt too sad to sing who was crying always made me cry as a child. But having been in the animal industry for 13 years now, i know that the reality of UK dog pounds somewhat brighter, (thank goodness).


Dog wardens in the UK are mostly people who actually adore dogs and want to be first on scene to respond and ensure each animal is treated with dignity and love. They don’t have time to be hunting down hiding doggies to make up their numbers; the kennels are already crammed and the calls keep coming in about stray and dumped dogs. I have also found that dog wardens are very active in the Lost & Found pet world to try and reunite any of their charges with their families outside of their work hours on their own time, and failing this,  they are extremely active in the rescue world, seeking out pound pulling organisations and rescue back ups to take the dogs in when their 7 days are up.

So what are our pounds actually like? Well think of the bottom end of the scale of boarding kennels and you’re pretty much there. UK country dog pounds are a council service or contracted purely for council dog warden intake, and therefore do not often have the biggest resources to be refurbishing their premises or improving their resources. Time is the biggest problem, the staff are usually spread thin keeping a full kennels clean and sanitary with feeding times and daily walks. Luckily, many pounds have volunteers who come in to walk dogs, spend time playing and being affectionate as well as helping to train out any behavioural issues.

Unfortunately, like everything in life, there are pounds who try to make profit from their rehoming services by selecting certain breeds of dog deemed more adoptable to extend their time in the kennels and put other breeds (like the staffy) to sleep without hesitation. Pounds can also be difficult when dealing with rescues trying to pull dogs from death row. Most pounds also won’t work with any rescue that publicly states a dog has been on death row, it says it gives the dog warden service and that particular “rehoming centre” a negative connotation. Posing as a rehoming centre and not allowing true no-kill rescues to be more honest and open about the problem is meaning their is little to no public awareness of the 18 dogs a day issue in the UK.


So is their really a clock ticking? Yes. Once admitted into the kennel and found to have no chip or not be able to contact the owners or have the dog released to the kennel by the owners; the dog has 7 days to be claimed or bought from the pound. Once the 7 days are up, it is all down to how full the kennels are as to how much extension each dog will get. 99% of the time, the pounds are full. If no rescue steps forward to pull an un-“adopted” dog from death row, the dog will be euthanised via lethal injection. Put to sleep. Killed.

Call it a rehoming centre, a county kennel or a high kill shelter; the pound represents the stray, abandoned, dumped, unwanted dogs of the UK being turned away by large rescues due to their breed and smaller rescues are too full to help. The 18 dogs a day in the UK being killed.


Dog Death Row…Yes; It’s A Real Thing.

If you haven’t seen the brutal yet underground documentary “Death Row Dogs”on Netflix yet, i suggest you take a peep to catch just an edited glimpse of the UK’s dog death row situation. The documentary focuses on those dogs who have been reported as “dangerous” to police and are seized for genetic and behavioural testing.

In the UK, should a neighbour or family spat turn sour, no longer is it just the social services being falsely called with reports of addresses to inspect; now your Staffy could be reported for being dangerous or suspected “pit type”. The police must respond to every report, and the manner in which they respond is truly quite horrific and needs some serious revision. Picture a team of 5-10 officers dressed in full riot gear bursting through your front door 10pm at night, shouting, brandishing shields and acting like they’re searching for Osama Bin Laden. You’re dog is separated from you, barking in fear trying to protect you and itself, as they corner it, catch pole in hand. Looped and tightened, you watch screaming in protest as they drag your poor dog down the stairs, out the front and into a dog van where they slam the door shut as if your loving family pet is an alligator.

Where is your dog going? To a concrete kennel block to be kept in isolation for “observation” and DNA testing to determine what percentage is Pit Bull and whether your dog is friendly or not… Disorientated, confused, defensive and with negative connections to these people manhandling them, being kept in quarantine with minimal human contact; what chance does any dog have of passing the test? How would you be affected after 6 months in isolation; could you interact normally? Even if your dog passes this emotional and mental mountain, should it be more than 20% pit bull DNA, it will be euthanised any way. Because of it’s breed. Nothing else.
What world are we living in where a country calls itself an “Animal Loving Nation” yet turn the other cheek to such a horrific system that puts healthy and happy dogs to sleep simply because of their type, or in human terms; race? The UK classes itself as having the best animal rights legislation’s in the world, yet we allow the system to try our canine family members in court because of their heritage, this would be the same as determining without any biological proof that all white people are criminals because of their skin.

This is without even beginning to talk about the pound dogs who have their 7 days to be claimed and removed from kennels by their owners after paying a release (“boarding”) cost. 18 Dogs are euthanised in the UK every day just in the county pounds… yet people continue to breed and buy puppies…

Support our work pulling dogs from UK death-rows, rehabilitating and rehoming them via online donation through PayPal “Friends & Family” to: or visit

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For Every Puppy Born and Bought There is a Dog Already Waiting in a Rescue, Shelter or Pound…

If i hear one more idiot tell me that they don’t want to have their pet neutered or spayed because it will change the dog’s personality, take away their “man-hood” or they simply do not see the benefits; i may scream.

Medical benefits of having your dog neutered and spayed is the significantly reduced risk of cancer. Cervical, ovarian and testicular cancer are extremely common in dogs nowadays due to changes in diet, environment and genetics from modern breeding practices. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is especially susceptible to testicular cancer and is often a tragic end to a dogs life from as young as 5 or 6 years old due to owners not being able to afford treatments to cnacer that quickly spread to other parts of the body. So let’s prevent.

Keeping an entire dog or bitch, particularly in a low income household, is simply a temptation waiting to become a disaster of an “accidental” litter sold on the cheap to friends, family and neighbours or online to make a quick bank deposit. A successful litter of pups can be produced and profit making within 17 weeks as long as no complications occur such as the loss of the mother’s milk. A microchip at 8 weeks, solid puppy food from 5 weeks and worming and flea treatments throughout are a minor cost compared to the potential income from selling a puppy online, and most backstreet breeders don’t even bother with these minor care points. Despite 2 new laws in 2016 stating that:

(1) all dogs must be chipped from 8 weeks old by their original owner

and (2) dogs can only be sold be rehoming organistions and licensed breeders,

…the policing and enforcement of these laws is flakey as remaining anonymous, multiple identities and a lack of public awareness means most backstreet breeders and puppy mills are never recognised by buyers, let alone reported and brought to justice.

Now your neighbour illegally selling the “accidental litter” is one thing, the puppy mills across the country using family homes as fronts to sell puppies is another large scale, huge profit making industry that is beginning to creep into the light of the public eye. However, the demand for the supply of puppies in the UK is relentless. Puppies shipped in illegally from Europe and Ireland are being bought for as little as £20 each and sold online for up to £750 and puppy mills hidden on farms deep in the countryside in the UK are selling these unhealthy, mentally frozen and emotionally damaged pups into respectable family homes across the country. Even when people do realise the dog is not in a well state, they often feel they are saving that puppy or simply want the pup more than they want to make a scene, and then forget to report the address of the backstreet breeder later.

These dogs with no social skills and often health issues, frequently end up being passed family to family through online sales or “free to good home” adverts due to behavioural issues. Eventually, they will be surrendered to a rescue or shelter, left at a boarding kennels never to be collected or dumped on the streets to be left unclaimed on doggy deathrow…

For every puppy being born and bought, there is a dog of 18 months upwards, waiting in a foster home or worse, behind a kennel door. A dog who like the puppy you are considering buying was ever so cute and now has separation anxiety, or dog aggression, or maybe is aggressive to men….

Spay and Neuter your dog. There are many reasonably priced veterinary practices, PDSA branches and annual free neutering events across the UK.

#AdoptDontShop #18DogsADayUK

To Today’s 18: Sleep Tight Little Ones, Run Free Over the Rainbow Bridge




Buster is 10 years old and i have no idea where he has been, what he has seen or how he came to be on deathrow. He has the goofiest face you just want to laugh at and all he wants to do is cuddle up and watch TV. Out and about he has been a perfect gentleman with a particularly gentle nature around children and a playful attitude to other dogs and cats. Why is Buster on deathrow with 1 day left until he will be taken down that hall and “put to sleep” with the subtle pink fluid.

I will never know why Buster was on deathrow, an unclaimed stray, nor Oliver, or Mitch or Cubey or any of the 100’s of others i see everyday in our rescue, in my email inbox, on my facebook wall all desperately begging me for a rescue space. I can’t save them all, we are a small scale rescue after all, but if ignore that email, that post, that voicemail…where will that dog be tomorrow?

How can the UK be so ignorant to not be able to see the severity of this animal overload on the island to continue to breed more puppies and kittens? They will complain about graphic images in social media posts and the never ending plea for donations but they refuse to realise the source: Themselves.

Until we stop treating our loyal canine companions like commodities and possessions we can pick up, throw away and replace the problem will not cease. 18. Eighteen. 18 Dogs are euthanised each day UK. Wake Up!

Please tweet, post, blog but #18DogsADayUK today.

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