As the media concentrates on yet another attack by a dog breed intended to be agressive, what can be done about the problem to tackle it permanently?

@dominictristram Should we ban #bullyxl #dogs? Yes, almost certainly. But we need to go further than that. #dangerousdogs ♬ original sound - Dom Tristram

Generated transcript:

Let’s talk about dangerous dogs. Now, there’s a very simple solution to a lot of the problem we have with dogs, in my mind: all dogs, literally every dog, should be licensed. Also if you have any kind of conviction for cruelty or irrresponsiblity keeping a dog, then you are banned from keeping any more dogs for life.

That’s it - end of. Minimum. After all, a pet is a responsibility, not a right. If you prove yourself cruel or irresponsible then why should you be allowed any more dogs? So that’s just off the bat - no dogs if you’re found cruel or irresponsible. Dog licensing was previously only used as a slight revenue generator in the past when we had dog licenses, but now with today’s technology we have a much better scope for using it to ensure that dogs are well treated and that owners are responsible.

Dogs are already microchipped, or should be. A licensing scheme can tie that microchip to the license. A vet could demand to see your license every time you take your dog in. If you buy or sell any dog, you should demand to see licenses. People might say “Oh, well, there’ll be a black market, people won’t bother with them.”

And sure enough, when we had dog licenses it is estimated that about half the people with dogs didn’t have one. But technology has moved on and that’s not a good argument for not doing it again.

In my mind, in a world where people are regularly bitten by dogs there’s no excuse for not trying to do something about it. You can’t just shrug, and you can’t say equally, “Oh, but my freedom! Why shouldn’t I be allowed an enormous fighting dog?” Because why should you have one?

We should just use statistics. Look at all breeds, and if more than a certain percentage of dog attacks are by this particular breed, put restrictions on it. Start with just making sure that they are muzzled (ie it’s a legal requirement to muzzle them in public). If that doesn’t work then look at stronger measures. But there’s no point just sort of shrugging our shoulders and going “what can we do?”

At the moment Suella Breverman’s looking at banning ‘bully XL’ dogs. We’ll see where that goes. But let’s say she does. There’ll be another dog. There’ll be another large fighting dog that the sort of people who buy these things go for, so the only solution is to look over all dog breeds and come up with some sort of automatic ‘if X many attacks happen, then this is considered a dangerous dog’ calculation. Muzzle them by default and then ban them if it goes beyond a sudden higher percentage than that.

I’ve got a dog. I love dogs. I love pets, but I’m not the sort of person who wants to buy a dog to look tough, a dog that looks dangerous. I think there is a certain psychology behind those people that we, as a country, shouldn’t really endorse or support. So sure, look dangerous if you want, but make sure that dog’s wearing a muzzle. And be ready to accept severe penalties if you willingly circumvent these attempts to keep your dog safe.