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BSL “A right blooming mess"

Abby Hardy

East Hampshire District Council offices hosted the “Promotion of Animal Welfare Seminar” on Wednesday (18 January).

Sponsored by the animal handling equipment experts MDC (and others), delegates listened to presentations from various speakers including canine dog law specialist Trevor Cooper who gave an enthusiastic and individual appraisal of BSL and other legal updates. Describing the legislation as “a right blooming mess”, he introduced the audience (environmental health officers, dog wardens and animal control staff) to the term “Gangbo”. The expression is being used in relation to restrictions imposed on gang members and in one recent incident included the curtailment of gang members owning or possessing Dobermans, Rottweilers, Bull Terriers, Alsatians (German Shepherd Dogs), Bull Terriers, Staffordshires and Pit Bull Terrier type dogs.

The Kennel Clubs Stephen Jenkinson who, in addition to explaining Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) ran a group activity for delegates to consider proposed prohibited activities. He concluded his talk stating “Bad PSPo’s don’t help anyone”.

In promoting a new campaign ‘Access All Areas’, spokesperson for Guide Dogs Peter Bungay revealed that 49% of guide dog owners surveyed had experienced an access refusal in the last 12 months. Peter said the main reasons for denial were cultural and religious. The campaign is aiming for all assistance dog owners to be able to access taxis, shops and restaurants in line with their legal rights.

In an overview of pet store inspections and licensing, animal health inspector Sharon Edwards said that pet store inspectors “need to have a broad knowledge of the species that may be for sale”. A delegate pointed out that they were primarily involved in food healthy and no training was provided. This highlighted the common theme to emerge from the seminar; the unintended consequence of existing or proposed rulings/orders and the importance of clear enforcement strategies.

The seminar closed with a prize draw for an MDC Bali Net won by officer Abby Hardy. The Bali Net was designed in conjunction with international stray dog handlers for the safe capture of dogs and is a relatively new piece of kit to UK dog control officers. For more details visit the MDC website: www.MDCexports.co.uk or by calling Tel: 01582 655600