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Guilty Until Proven Innocent

 Meet Lola

A sweet natured, sensitive, gentle good girl. Much loved by her family & everyone who knows her. Lola has a sad tale to tell. A story unfortunately known to many dogs who just happen to look a particular way.

In the early 1990’s a series of very unpleasant attacks on humans by dogs, some resulting in fatalities attracted the attention of the media. The government responded with what might be considered a knee jerk reaction & Breed Specific Legislation or BSL as it is commonly known came into effect as part of The Dangerous Dogs Act.

Within this piece of legislation 4 breeds of dogs are banned. The Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentina & Fila Brasileiro. 

You might think that the action of banning these dogs, considered dangerous breeds would result in reduced biting incidents & zero fatalities. But you would be wrong. According to the RSPCA  37 people have died from dog related incidences & hospital admissions due to dog bites increased 78% between 2005 & 2015. And of the 37 deaths 28 were caused by dogs not on the banned breed list.

So why isn’t BSL doing what it intended? Dog Desk Radio caught up with Gavin Ridley who is petitioning parliament to replace BSL with a new statutory framework. And discussed some of the flaws in the current legislation. You can hear our conversation on Dog Desk Radio daily at midnight UK time & again at 4.58pm.

This Is Lola’s Story

Lola’s Mum Anita talked to us about her experience with BSL. How she thought she had lost her girl forever & the effect BSL has had on their lives.

On August 14th 2019 my precious Lola was seized by the police, someone had reported her as a vicious Pit Bull. She was taken from the house, put in a cage in the back of a police van and driven away. I was not allowed to know where she was going, not told if I would get her back and not allowed to give them any of her food, bed, toys or even a blanket with our scent on. To say I was hysterical would be an understatement.

Lola is an American Bulldog/English Staffordshire Bull Terrier. There is a law in this country that states if the dog shape based on tape measurements “fit” they are labelled Pitbull “type” . What this means is they are at risk of been euthanised even though they have done nothing wrong. This is called BSL, breed specific legislation.

The officer did an assessment on Lola and confirmed she was a well balanced, obedient, gentle dog that showed no aggression what so ever. However, she measured the measurements they use, he even said he did some several times to check, he could see how lovely she was. He told me the kennels that she was taken to commented on how lovely and good natured she was.

I have had to go to court to get her back and the court agreed she was no risk to the public, but because she’s now labelled “type”, she has to be muzzled and kept on a lead in public for the rest of her life. No more long free beach and wood walks, no more playing fetch with her ball. Both her and my life have changed forever.

I now have her home, but she cried and cried when she saw me. She was starving, not that I think she was not offered food, she won’t of eaten through stress. She started to pee herself in the home and we couldn’t take her to the vet as she wasn’t muzzle trained and physically shook at the sight of it. I took a sample to them, it was clear and she was put on stress and anxiety medication .

A year down the line she still hates the muzzle, tolerates it, but will never totally accept it. She frequently rubs her face along the ground trying to remove it and on coming home when it’s removed does the same on the carpet.

⁣ The bad news is not all seized dogs are as lucky as Lola, some are never returned home.

Since doing the BSL interview with Gavin we have heard so many tragic stories of perfectly well behaved, well adjusted dogs being put to sleep purely because of the way they look. These lost souls have never put a paw out of line, never displayed any aggressive behaviours, never done anything wrong.

Pitbull isn’t even a breed, it is a type. A set of physical characteristics.

We have been told that a gentleman took his life after signing his dog over because he couldn’t afford the fee needed to start the proceedings to get his dog back. His beloved dog was put to sleep. Two lives lost just because a dog looked a certain way.

It is certain in my mind that we need to have legislation in place to prevent dogs getting out of control to protect people & other animals including dogs. Current legislation is failing dogs and people and needs to be looked at again & scrapped completely or changed.

If you have been affected by BSL & would like to share your experience with us please email

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