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Dangerous Dog Experts Gather for Discussions

21 January 2015

UK - The Kennel Club will lead discussions on the need for better investigation into dog bite incidents, at a meeting at its London offices on Monday (26 January).

The meeting, which could influence the future of dangerous dog legislation, is the first of its kind in bringing together experts from across the veterinary and medical professions, the police, local authorities, government representatives, academics, sociologists, as well as animal welfare charities to explore ways to move forward with a strategy on dangerous dogs.

The Kennel Club has invited experts in this field, including animal behaviourist, vet and expert witness in dangerous dogs cases, Kendal Shepherd; veterinary surgeon, Danielle Greenberg; and facial reconstruction surgeon, Chris Mannion, who will present the view supported by the Kennel Club that preventative measures are needed to reduce the number of dog bite incidents that occur, beginning with proper investigation into these incidents.

Currently there is a lack of detailed data to explain why dog bite incidents occur in the first place and, as such, no thoroughly effective or evidence-based education measures are being implemented to reduce them.

The Kennel Club believes that dangerous dog law should be updated and consolidated and replaced with preventative measures based on evidence gathered through data collected on a national level from hospitals and GPs, veterinary surgeries, police dog units, and dog wardens, amongst other sources, instead of laws based on the stereotyping of certain breeds.

The Kennel Club will present these views at the meeting in the first step towards planning and implementing a strategy to secure government support for greater data collection, and subsequently, evidence-based education strategies.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "The Kennel Club is firmly of the view that dangerous dog law as it stands is next to useless and has done nothing whatsoever to reduce the number of dog biting incidents across the UK. Instead it demonises certain breeds based on stereotypes and not scientific evidence.

"There are a range of factors which contribute to dog biting incidents and each incident is specific to its circumstances, and we need accurate data to build a more reliable picture of the incidence of dog bites and their causes.

"The issues being presented at the meeting fully tie in with the Kennel Club's A Dog's Life manifesto, which was launched to advise an incoming government on how to improve dog welfare. The Kennel Club, alongside other dog welfare organisations, is perfectly placed to offer guidance and expertise on the subject of dogs and we hope that a new government will be open to working with us, including on a new strategy for dangerous dogs."

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