Pétition fermée
Adressée à Elected Member of the Dáil Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government et 1 autre
Cette pétition sera remise à:
Elected Member of the Dáil
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government
Elected Minister of the Dáil
Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food

Repeal and replace the Control of Dogs Act Regulations 1998 with better legislation.

12 301
signataires

 

To:

The Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Primary)

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine

The Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas

 Joint Sub-Committee on Public Petitions

 

Petition:

 “We the people call on the Minister for the Environment & Local Government, The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas and the Joint Sub-Committee on Public Petitions to repeal and replace current legislation, namely the Control of Dogs Act in the Republic of Ireland, with legislation better suited to protecting the public from dangerous dogs without compromising another individual dog’s welfare. This proposal is based on the principle of ‘deed not breed’ and we oppose breed specific legislation in line with scientific peer-reviewed research and statistics world-wide which indicate the failure of breed specific legislation. As such we seek to place greater responsibility on dog owners and remove the welfare implications affecting dogs deemed to be a certain type”

 

Why is change needed in Ireland, isn’t the legislation fine as it is?

Safety:

Over 40 years of scientific research has found no difference between dog breeds with respect to likelihood to bite/ aggression or potential inflicted injury. Research throughout the world over the last two decades has increasingly shown that legislating restrictions or bans by breed to keep communities safe from dog bites/injuries; has NEVER resulted in reduced bites/injuries. In fact it has frequently had the opposite effect, with recent research highlighting dog bites to fact increase. The only effective method of reducing dog bites/injuries is to legislate strict responsibilities on all owners regardless of breed. Other nations and jurisdictions have adopted this practice with huge success.

Animal Welfare:

It would save a significant proportion of these dog breeds from being euthanized due to merely being born into a breed which the government has legislation restrictions and bans on. It would also significantly increase the possibility of re homing these dog breeds throughout this country and remove boundaries for tireless animal welfare/rescue volunteers throughout this country to work more efficiently and effectively.

Financial:

Last year to implement the Control of Dogs Act,  the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government spent €5,361,920.91, with an income from licenses/fines etc., being €3,779,357.25. They are running at a loss of €1,582,563.66 per year. That is a loss of €1,582,563.66 while spending €5,361,920.91 of tax payer’s money. Abolishing breed specific legislation for legislation that has actually been shown to be successful rather than a failure, would result in implementing legislation that has been shown to be successful rather than wasting financial and human resources.

Training/Socialisation:

Its removal would allow these dog breeds to be properly socialised and trained. These breeds currently in Ireland are hampered from correct socialisation and training due to these restrictions. Unnecessary muzzling of a dog has a dramatic impact on its ability to socialise correctly, with research highlighting the unnecessary muzzling of a dog (regardless of positive conditioning) can cause great distress and frustration on a socialising dog. The unnecessary muzzling of a dog also polarises dog owner communities and hampers training/socialisation opportunities.

Dog Breed Identification:

Currently under the terms of the Control of Dogs Act, a dog possessing a cross or strain of a restricted breed is restricted. World leading experts have shown a significant short coming with respect to be able to correctly identify dog breeds (25 % success rate with visual identification). Unless each dog warden is conducting DNA tests on each dog he/she wishes to seize or to fine the owners for not adhering to restrictions, it is virtually impossible to correctly identify the dog breed he/she is dealing with, therefore being unable to ascertain if the dog in question is categorised as “restricted”.

Roles in Society:

The removal of breed specific legislation would allow these dogs to work in therapeutic roles.  A number of the breeds legislated against in Ireland are hailed worldwide as the most effective therapy dogs in the world. This is reflected through peer-reviewed scientific research that has consistently highlighted them to possess the highest empathy levels of any dog (Staffordshire Bull Terrier).

Inclusivity:

Breed specific legislation also polarises responsible dog owner communities due to placing an emphasis on a dog breed as being more dangerous and likely to injure when 30 years of peer-reviewed research suggests otherwise. Legislation should provide inclusive communities for responsible dog owners, not polarise them.

Tourism:

Ireland is frequently reviewed as being among one of the worst countries in the world to travel to with a canine companion. Canine tourism is worth billions to economies throughout the world, with a very limited number of individuals accompanied by their dog(s) travelling here due to restrictions (restricted breed owner or not). The Irish economy is losing millions each year with respect to canine tourism, with many Irish dog owners frequently travelling abroad to non-BSL countries to holiday in.

 

 

Petition Background:

The record of the ineffectiveness of legislating restrictions on specific breeds has been well documented within nearly all major western countries. Due to the constraints regarding the length of this document, a brief number of examples are as follows:

Italy: In 2009, Italy abolished all breed-specific legislation, which applied to 17 breeds of dogs, in favour of legislation that holds individual dog owners responsible for their dog’s behaviour. Italy’s Undersecretary Francesca Martini reported, “The measures adopted in the previous laws had no scientific basis. Dangerous breeds do not exist”.

Spain: A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2007) showed the Dangerous Animals Act (2000), which targeted a number of breeds of dogs, had no impact on reducing injuries.

Great Britain: A consultation conducted by Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed that public sentiment overwhelmingly favours repeal of the UK’s breed-specific laws. 88% of the respondents stated that the current legislation is not effective in protecting the public and 71% called for repeal. A further development was made with the introduction of a bill in 2010 to repeal the breed-specific provisions of the UK’s Dangerous Dogs Act and has successfully passed its second reading in the House of Lords. Lord Rupert Redesdale’s “Dog Control Act” will make individual owners responsible for their dog’s behaviour with the removal of breed specific legislation. This proposal is in its final stages within the House of Lords.

Sweden: The Swedish government has removed all breed-specific restriction legislation from law. No restrictions are placed on breed type, rather owners are legislated against. In addition they have also legislated for a series of guidelines (15 pages of extensive guidelines) related to domestic dog and cat care. The legislation ranges from the frequency of dog and cat feeding and exercise, the size and design of their living quarters, as well as the quality of the air pets breathe.

Netherlands: Towards the end of 2008, the Dutch government repealed nationwide ban and restrictions on pit bulls that had continued for 15 years. The government had commissioned a study of the ban’s effectiveness, which had revealed that banning or restricting a breed of dog was not a successful dog bit mitigation strategy. Instead, the researchers recommended better education for children and adults on proper interactions with dogs.

United States of America: There are countless examples (too great to discuss here) of the above changes reflected throughout the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has previously concluded that the study which is frequently cited by proponents in favour of legislating specific breeds, that they were unable to “identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policymaking decisions related to the topic”. An official statement released from the White House recently stated that President Barrack Obama does not support breed specific legislation of any kind; “We don’t support breed-specific legislation”. 

Canada: The above examples are evident throughout Canada. Here follows a number of examples; In Winnipeg, Manitoba, after the city enacted a series of breed bans and restrictions in 1990, reports of dog bites actually increased. Citizens reported approximately the same number of dog bites in 2009 as they did the year it was passed. The province of Ontario enacted a breed ban and restrictions in 2005. In 2010, the Toronto Humane Society surveyed municipalities across the province to see whether or not the law has resulted in a reduction of dog bite incidents. The responding municipalities reported that, despite 5 years of legislating restrictions on specific breeds and the destruction and confiscation of “countless” dogs, there had been no decrease in the number of dog bites.

In Calgary, Alberta Canada in 2006, a breed-neutral Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw was enacted. The Calgary Animal Services has achieved a combined record of compassion for animals and safety for human citizens without equal anywhere in the world. In 2009, 86% of the dogs handled by Animal Services were returned to their owners; fewer than 5% were euthanized. Moreover, in 2009, this city of over 1 million people had reports of only 159 dog bites, of which 101 did not break the skin. No community in Europe or North America can boast such a record of dog safety. This bylaw is currently being followed and implemented throughout much of North America and Europe due to it resounding success.

A further concern is in relation to the classification of breeds. The modern science of genetics renders labelling a breed based on visual identification extremely problematic. According to the creator of the Canine Heritage Breed Test for mixed breed dogs, each test is accompanied with the following proviso: “Your dog’s visual appearance may vary from the listed breed(s) due to the inherent randomness of phenotypic expression in every individual”. Landmark genetic studies conducted by Scott and Fuller, found that breed identification of a dog based on phenotype is unscientific, and is likely to be contradicted by a DNA test. A study currently in press in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science highlights the substantial discrepancy between visual identification of dogs, and breeds identified in the same dogs through DNA testing. Of dogs breeds labelled as being a specified breed by an appointed breed expert, in only of 25% of these dogs was that breed also detected through DNA analysis.

In addition, in response to the frequently cited concern that the size of the dog correlates with potential damage which could be inflicted should the dog bite, The American Veterinary Medical Association has stated that; “there is no scientific evidence that one kind of dog is more likely to bite or injure a human being than another kind of dog regardless of size, and in no event should dogs be characterized apart from their relationships with human beings”. Dr. Ian Dunbar, a world leading animal behaviourist and veterinarian has frequently highlighted through scientific peer-reviewed publications, the ease with which any dog can be taught to inhibit their bite (soft mouth). This can only be achieved through positive reinforcement training methods, and results in any dog which does bite another animal or human being to not cause any damage whatsoever. Furthermore, there are a vast number of dog breeds that are exceeding larger than nearly all breeds but are not included as a restricted breed.

 

A recent court case within Galway city regarding custody of a dog (happened to be a restricted breed) was the first to be ruled on the island of Ireland. The judge found in favour on one individual over the other due to the following reason: the judge found that the dog demonstrated reactive behaviour under the supervision of one individual and didn’t under the other. The judge ruled in favour of the latter due to this individual having sought and attained positive reinforcement training on how to successful manage the reactive behaviour the dog was exhibiting. Therefore, the judge ruled that this individual was best suited to provide a fulfilling and balanced environment with which to raise a dog (full details of this case are available to the deciding committee).

To conclude, this amendment which is being sought would have a dramatic impact on society. It would allow these breeds to perform roles in society, such as being therapy dogs for a wide array of illnesses and rehabilitation work they currently perform throughout the western world. These dog breeds have saved people’s lives, have provided unconditional love and support, and have contributed to society and life in extraordinary ways. To discriminate against a dog based on its breed is morally wrong and discriminatory. We call on you Minister for the Environment & Local Government (Primary), The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas and members of the Joint Sub-Committee on Public Petitionsto recognise these truths; to honour the special relationship between human beings and dogs; to repeal and reform cruel and ineffective breed specific legislation; and to hold all owners to a high standard of humane care, custody and control of all dogs, regardless of breed or type. Ghandi summed it up best, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

 

 

Sincerely,

[your name]

 

 

A full complete list of citations is available from the petition organiser.

 

 

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Adressée à
Elected Member of the Dáil Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government
Elected Minister of the Dáil Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food
“We the people call on the Minister for the Environment & Local Government, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to repeal and replace current legislation, namely the Control of Dogs Act 1998 Regulations in the Republic of Ireland, with legislation better suited to protecting the public from dangerous dogs without compromising another individual dog’s welfare. There has been a 47% increase in the numbers of people hospitalised for dog bites since the legislation has come in law. This is reflected in peer reviewed research, which indicates a country possessing breed specific restrictions posses an increased risk to the public. It also imposes significant welfare implications on the breeds involved. This proposal is based on the principle of ‘deed not breed’ and we oppose breed specific legislation in line with scientific peer-reviewed research and statistics world-wide which indicate the failure of breed specific legislation. As such we seek to place greater responsibility on dog owners and remove the welfare implications affecting dogs deemed to be a certain type”

This proposal is in line with the current proposal being sought in the United Kingdom by the following organisations; Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, British Veterinary Association, Dogs Trust, the Kennel Club, The Mayhew Animal Home, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Wandsworth Borough Council and Wood Green Animal Shelters. Correspondence has been sent to a large number of organisations within the Republic of Ireland, which is seeking their support in this proposal. Responses will be issued in due course.

Petition Background:

The record of the ineffectiveness of legislating restrictions on specific breeds has been well documented within nearly all major western countries. Due to the constraints regarding the length of this document, a brief number of examples are as follows:
Italy: In 2009, Italy abolished all breed-specific legislation, which applied to 17 breeds of dogs, in favour of legislation that holds individual dog owners responsible for their dog’s behaviour. Italy’s Undersecretary Francesca Martini reported, “The measures adopted in the previous laws had no scientific basis. Dangerous breeds do not exist”.
Spain: A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2007) showed the Dangerous Animals Act (2000), which targeted a number of breeds of dogs, had no impact on reducing injuries.
Great Britain: A consultation conducted by Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed that public sentiment overwhelmingly favours repeal of the UK’s breed-specific laws. 88% of the respondents stated that the current legislation is not effective in protecting the public and 71% called for repeal. A further development was made with the introduction of a bill in 2010 to repeal the breed-specific provisions of the UK’s Dangerous Dogs Act and has successfully passed its second reading in the House of Lords. Lord Rupert Redesdale’s “Dog Control Act” will make individual owners responsible for their dog’s behaviour with the removal of breed specific legislation. This proposal is in its final stages within the House of Lords.
Sweden: The Swedish government has removed all breed-specific restriction legislation from law. No restrictions are placed on breed type, rather owners are legislated against. In addition they have also legislated for a series of guidelines (15 pages of extensive guidelines) related to domestic dog and cat care. The legislation ranges from the frequency of dog and cat feeding and exercise, the size and design of their living quarters, as well as the quality of the air pets breathe.
Netherlands: Towards the end of 2008, the Dutch government repealed nationwide ban and restrictions on pit bulls that had continued for 15 years. The government had commissioned a study of the ban’s effectiveness, which had revealed that banning or restricting a breed of dog was not a successful dog bit mitigation strategy. Instead, the researchers recommended better education for children and adults on proper interactions with dogs.
United States of America: There are countless examples (too great to discuss here) of the above changes reflected throughout the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has previously concluded that the study which is frequently cited by proponents in favour of legislating specific breeds, that they were unable to “identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policymaking decisions related to the topic”. An official statement released from the White House recently stated that President Barrack Obama does not support breed specific legislation of any kind; “We don’t support breed-specific legislation”.
Canada: The above examples are evident throughout Canada. Here follows a number of examples; In Winnipeg, Manitoba, after the city enacted a series of breed bans and restrictions in 1990, reports of dog bites actually increased. Citizens reported approximately the same number of dog bites in 2009 as they did the year it was passed. The province of Ontario enacted a breed ban and restrictions in 2005. In 2010, the Toronto Humane Society surveyed municipalities across the province to see whether or not the law has resulted in a reduction of dog bite incidents. The responding municipalities reported that, despite 5 years of legislating restrictions on specific breeds and the destruction and confiscation of “countless” dogs, there had been no decrease in the number of dog bites.
In Calgary, Alberta Canada in 2006, a breed-neutral Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw was enacted. The Calgary Animal Services has achieved a combined record of compassion for animals and safety for human citizens without equal anywhere in the world. In 2009, 86% of the dogs handled by Animal Services were returned to their owners; fewer than 5% were euthanized. Moreover, in 2009, this city of over 1 million people had reports of only 159 dog bites, of which 101 did not break the skin. No community in Europe or North America can boast such a record of dog safety. This bylaw is currently being followed and implemented throughout much of North America and Europe due to it resounding success.
A further concern is in relation to the classification of breeds. The modern science of genetics renders labelling a breed based on visual identification extremely problematic. According to the creator of the Canine Heritage Breed Test for mixed breed dogs, each test is accompanied with the following proviso: “Your dog’s visual appearance may vary from the listed breed(s) due to the inherent randomness of phenotypic expression in every individual”. Landmark genetic studies conducted by Scott and Fuller, found that breed identification of a dog based on phenotype is unscientific, and is likely to be contradicted by a DNA test. A study currently in press in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science highlights the substantial discrepancy between visual identification of dogs, and breeds identified in the same dogs through DNA testing. Of dogs breeds labelled as being a specified breed by an appointed breed expert, in only of 25% of these dogs was that breed also detected through DNA analysis.
In addition, in response to the frequently cited concern that the size of the dog correlates with potential damage which could be inflicted should the dog bite, The American Veterinary Medical Association has stated that; “there is no scientific evidence that one kind of dog is more likely to bite or injure a human being than another kind of dog regardless of size, and in no event should dogs be characterized apart from their relationships with human beings”. Dr. Ian Dunbar, a world leading animal behaviourist and veterinarian has frequently highlighted through scientific peer-reviewed publications, the ease with which any dog can be taught to inhibit their bite (soft mouth). This can only be achieved through positive reinforcement training methods, and results in any dog which does bite another animal or human being to not cause any damage whatsoever. Furthermore, there are a vast number of dog breeds that are exceeding larger than nearly all breeds but are not included as a restricted breed.

A recent court case within Galway city regarding custody of a dog (happened to be a restricted breed) was the first to be ruled on the island of Ireland. The judge found in favour on one individual over the other due to the following reason: the judge found that the dog demonstrated reactive behaviour under the supervision of one individual and didn’t under the other. The judge ruled in favour of the latter due to this individual having sought and attained positive reinforcement training on how to successful manage the reactive behaviour the dog was exhibiting. Therefore, the judge ruled that this individual was best suited to provide a fulfilling and balanced environment with which to raise a dog (full details of this case are available to the deciding committee).
To conclude, this amendment which is being sought would have a dramatic impact on society. It would allow these breeds to perform roles in society, such as being therapy dogs for a wide array of illnesses and rehabilitation work they currently perform throughout the western world. These dog breeds have saved people’s lives, have provided unconditional love and support, and have contributed to society and life in extraordinary ways. To discriminate against a dog based on its breed is morally wrong and discriminatory. We call on you Minister for the Environment & Local Government (Primary), The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas and members of the Joint Sub-Committee on Public Petitions to recognise these truths; to honour the special relationship between human beings and dogs; to repeal and reform cruel and ineffective breed specific legislation; and to hold all owners to a high standard of humane care, custody and control of all dogs, regardless of breed or type. Ghandi summed it up best, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.