MSP relaunches bid to make law on dangerous dogs 'punish owners'

ANIMAL campaigners hope that a new law on dangerous dogs will be in place in Scotland by next year.

The Nationalist MSP Christine Grahame yesterday relaunched a bill to replace the "flawed" Dangerous Dogs Act. The bill, which is backed by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), aims to end the ban on some breeds and instead concentrate on dogs' behaviour.

Ms Grahame said: "This is being looked on very favourably by the Scottish Government, so hopefully it can be in place within a year. The important thing is that it punishes irresponsible owners."

The SSPCA's Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn added that the current act, put through parliament by former Conservative home secretary Kenneth Baker in 48 hours was "flawed".

"The problem is that it bans breeds, when in fact there is no such thing as a totally safe dog; it is how they are looked after and reared," he said.

"What we want is for bad owners to be punished, not dogs."

He added that confusion over dangerous breeds had led to hundreds of Staffordshire bull terriers to be dumped at SSPCA centres. "Out of the 80 dogs we have in Glasgow at the moment about half are Staffordshires," he said. "It is because people think they are illegal when they are not."

Ms Grahame is taking on the task after the bill's previous sponsor, Alex Neil, was promoted to a ministerial post.

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