The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was introduced to protect the public from dangerous dog attacks. The Act made it an offence to keep four types of dog traditionally bred for fighting - the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Fila Brasileiro and Dogo Argentino - unless the dog was placed on the Index of Exempted Dogs and kept in compliance with certain requirements.
There has been substantial debate about the effectiveness of this legislation and the impacts on dog welfare. According to the RSPCA, 30 people died between 1991 and 2016 in dog-related incidents, of which 21 involved dogs of breeds/types not prohibited by the law. The number of attacks has also risen, with yearly hospital admissions for dog bites increasing by 76% between 2006-2016.
Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said:
“The Government is responsible for protecting the public from dangerous animals, so it is essential that laws evolve alongside our understanding of what works.
“The 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act banned four specific types of dog, but since then attacks have continued and 21 people have been killed by non-banned types.
“My Committee will investigate whether the Government's current approach is having the desired effect, and whether any changes are needed to ensure that the public is properly protected and that animal welfare concerns are properly addressed”.
Terms of reference
In particular, the Committee seeks written submissions that address the following issues:
- How effective is the Government’s current approach to protecting the public from dangerous dog attacks?
- What changes, if any, should be made to the current approach and legislation?
- How can local authorities and police forces be best supported in reducing the number of dangerous dog-related incidents?
- What lessons could the UK learn from other countries dealing with similar issues?
Deadline for submissions
Written evidence should be submitted through the Committee’s web portal by midnight on Wednesday 6 June. It is recommended that all submitters familiarise themselves with the Guidance on giving evidence to a Select Committee of the House of Commons which outlines particulars of word count, format, document size, and content restrictions.
We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence. We aim to have diverse panels of Select Committee witnesses and ask organisations to bear this in mind when we ask them to choose a representative. We are currently monitoring the diversity of our witnesses.