FRESH calls for changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act claim the animals should be banned based on their behaviour, rather than breed.
The RSPCA has spoken about its “serious concerns” relating to Breed Specific legislation (BSL) – part of the law that makes it illegal to own a pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino or fila Braziliero in the UK.
Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animals department, said: “We believe BSL is ineffective at protecting public safety as aggression is a much more complex issue than simply what breed or type a dog is.
“Aggression can be influenced by a range of factors including how dogs are bred, reared and experiences throughout their lifetime.
“Suspected banned dogs are judged on a set of standards according to how they look, and not on their DNA or parentage.
“This means dogs, which wouldn’t have otherwise come to the attention of the police or courts are punished simply because of how they look.”
The charity also has concerns about the welfare of dogs who are suspected of being a banned breed.
Dr Gaines added: “The assessment process requires that they are taken away from their home and placed into police kennels which can be very challenging.
“If placed on the exempted list, which allows an owner to legally keep a banned type, they must adhere to a strict set of rules which can also impact on their welfare.”
Sarah Harris, dog behaviourist and founder of Dudley based Ravens Rescue, said she was in “total agreement” that the law needed to change as it “targets dogs for their looks alone”.
The 42-year-old from Kingswinford said: “Many of the dogs are seized from loving, caring homes when they have not done anything wrong.
“Once removed, they are placed in kennels, where the owners are not allowed access to see them or even given details of where they are or how they are doing.
“The law must change to target irresponsible owners, irrelevant of the breed not loving family pets whose only crime is to be born looking a certain way.
“The government is targeting the wrong end of the lead.”
She encouraged people to speak out if they wanted to see the law change and contact their local MP.