K9 Magazine Re-Wind: Send a Dog to Its Death in 240 Minutes

Dipping in to our (substantial) archives for a month-end, March re-wind we return to one of the most contentious stories from the DogMagazine.net blog. First published in February of last year, it seems apt to revisit this story in the wake of recently announced ‘ACPO Guidance on Dangerous Dogs’. We have to ask, will the UK ever truly embrace the concept of ‘Deed not Breed’ or are we merely going to pay lip service to the notion whilst we continue to seize and kill dogs by ‘type’? The following article received attention around the world when it was first published.

Kennel Club to train up Pit Bull Identification experts in just four hours
writes Alison Green

The Kennel Club, despite its cries of “Deed Not Breed” are planning to create a panel of “experts” trained to identify pit bull type dogs. I use the term “experts” lightly because these particular “experts” will attend a course just FOUR hours long.

The course, to be held at Battersea Dogs Home on the 18th February will run to the following agenda:

Course start 12pm with a 30-minute talk by Trevor Turner on how to identify a “pit bull type”.

Those in attendance will then spend one hour practicing their identification skills on an unknown number of dogs.

A further hour will be spent on an analysis of the findings by Trevor Turner.

Then a 30 minute break before an hour long talk from Trevor Cooper on the court proceedings for expert witness’s.

Course concludes at 4pm.

Whether there will be a “type” dog examined on the day by the trainees is unknown, if it is a registered dog it is safe, if not what will happen to this dog examined on the day?

My understanding, although as yet not confirmed, is at this stage you will receive a certificate of your “expert” status and are then able to use your new found knowledge where ever it may be needed.

I have a great respect for both Trevor Cooper and Trevor Turner. They both do fantastic work on defending cases of cross bred dogs accused of being Pit Bull types. Someone has to identify dogs under the current system we have,but is a “dangerous dogs identification day” really the role for a national pro-dog organisation to take?

What message does it send out; that on one hand it is widely accepted that you can not determine whether a dog is dangerous based on its physical appearance, but on the other hand you run a course to certify people to do just that, in your name, whilst still claiming to be “Deed Not breed”? Will we reach a position where a Kennel Club accredited “expert” gives evidence in a court of law for the prosecution of a family pet, or states a dog is “type” in a rescue or dog pound and a dog dies because it looks wrong?

I cannot understand how the Kennel club keep saying “Deed Not Breed” yet refuse to argue for an overhaul on the law due to “political climate” and are now training up “experts” in just four hours!

I have some knowledge on the law. I have seen plenty of so called “pit bull types” . Excuse me for shouting but YOU CANNOT TRAIN UP AN EXPERT IN JUST FOUR HOURS! These “experts” will be laughed out of court and dogs may die because of them.

It is thought that these experts are mainly vets and behaviourists. They will presumably, once they have their certificate, be able to go into pounds, rescues and anywhere they are asked to go and state whether, in their opinion, a dog is a pit bull type or not. I say “in their opinion” because that is all it is. An opinion based on just TWO AND A HALF HOURS hands on pit bull type identification training. On their say so a dog could live or die. That’s what it boils down to, particularly in rescues and pounds where no owner is there to fight for them. Those dogs are going to die. Just like Red.

There is the other side of it of course. A dog may be deemed “not type” by the KC experts. Only one problem with that. It will NOT make that dog safe.  It  it will not stop that dog being seized by someone else who believes the dog IS type. Until a dog is spared from being a pit bull type by a court of law it is not “safe”.

If it really was as easy as saying “so and so says it’s not type” we wouldn’t have any cases in court. In court we have those for the defence and those for the prosecution and it all falls on whom the judge believes. Even with the best experts with years of experience in identification and court proceedings you still lose on “type” more than you win.

The burden of proof is reversed; it’s up to you to prove your dog is not type. What of pets who are examined and found to be of “type”? What then? You cannot go and register the dog yourself to bring it within the law. What does an owner do? Dogs without owners who are then deemed to be of type will die. You cannot re home an unregistered pit bull type.

Will those owners whose dogs are seen by the so called experts, be fully aware of the extent of the training received? Will they be told that there are more experienced people out there who may have a totally different opinion? Will they seek a second opinion before a dog is killed?

The law is wrong. The Kennel Clubs “panel of experts” will not do anything to change that.  What example does this set to others; how do you explain to someone that you cant judge a dog on its appearance although the Kennel Club does hold courses on it? Certifying volunteers to identify dogs as  dangerous based on a measuring stick and a few ticks in the *right* boxes is, in my opinion, not  promoting the good of all dogs. Law enforcement agencies have to do it, it is the law. Why are the Kennel Club doing it?

While they claim to be training for the defence, experts must remain impartial. The Kennel Club does not need to hold this course and should , if they really want to really do something to help stop whimpering “Deed not Breed” and start shouting for a complete removal of all BSL. Now. What ever the current climate. For dogs like Red.

Source: DogMagazine.net – the K9 Magazine blog

K9 Magazine Re-Wind: Send a Dog to Its Death in 240 Minutes

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