Today, July 16, MPs will debate whether Staffordshire bull terriers should be added to the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The issue was raised when an animal rights group called for the dogs to be covered by the act, which would effectively ban people from owning a Staffie in the UK.
More than 160,000 people have so far signed a petition for the dogs not to be banned.
As the MEN reports, people for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) requested for Staffies to be added to the act following a consultation. They suggested this breed of dog is often abused and abandoned, and the best way to prevent this is to stop people breeding them.
The petition was set up by Steve Quinn, according to Stoke Live, who said Staffies are loving companions, and it was people who created dangerous dogs, not the type of breed.
Many people in the UK today have the pleasure of owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. As one of these people I can recommend them as being loving, loyal and caring, far from dangerous they are great companions.
It would be a terrible tragedy for the dog lovers of the UK to lose the right to own one of these great companions. We are calling on Parliament to save our Staffies and not have them banned as dangerous dogs, because they are not.
PETA say they are in favour of Staffies being added to the list of banned dogs, as it would prevent them being abused.
A statement on their website said:
Staffies are currently flooding UK animal shelters and have become by far the most commonly abandoned breed of dog in the country. They’re also one of the most abused – in fact, the RSPCA has confirmed that 80 per cent of its cruelty-to-animals prosecutions concern Staffies.
The breed is also the most likely to be abducted and used by criminal gangs for fighting rings or as guard dogs. Given how vulnerable these dogs are to abuse, neglect, and abandonment, why would anyone fight the introduction of legislation that would prevent people from bringing more of them into a world that treats many so cruelly?
The statement emphasises that they are not wishing for dogs to be removed from loving homes and responsible pet owners, instead asking to limit any dog breeding that is for cruel and exploitative practices.
The debate will take place today, July 16, at 4.30pm (BST) in the House of Commons. The government has said it currently has no plans to add Staffies to the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced in 1991 to prohibit people from owning certain dogs which are bred for fighting or present a danger to the public.
The act already covers the pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the Dogo Argentina and Fila Brasilerio, making it illegal to own, sell, exchange or cross-breed these types of dogs without a special exemption from a court.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.