Defective Conservative legislation controlling ‘dangerous dogs’ is in urgent need of reform, according to Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Tyler.

The former North Cornwall MP told the House of Lords on Friday that ‘the Dangerous Dog Act 1991 is cited by political students, not just in this country, but all over the world as a classic case of the danger of a knee jerk response to events producing a law that seeks to remedy a situation in speed.’

Lord Tyler made special reference to particular case he had dealt with on behalf of two of his then constituents in Newquay, over the course of two years, when their obedient, friendly Staffordshire Bull Terriers were threatened with destruction after German authorities confused their breed with that of the American Staffordshire Terrier. Over 6000 people signed a petition to demand a review of the law.

Commenting after the debate, Lord Tyler said:

“I know from personal experience how serious dog bites can be.

“But successive governments have failed to learn that when they legislate in haste, they repent at leisure.

“The Dangerous Dogs Act takes more account of breed than behaviour, which is arbitrary in itself and has anyway led to a number of cases of canine mistaken identity.

“Staffordshire Bull Terriers are mistaken for Pitbulls and American Staffordshire Terriers for Staffordshire Bull Terriers. The law is a mess.

“Rupert Redesdale, my Liberal Democrat colleague, is making a serious attempt to remedy this absurd situation with his Bill in the Lords.”


Notes to Editors

A transcript of Paul Tyler’s speech in the House of Lords can be found at: http://pubs1.tso.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90424-0001.htm#09042430000318

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