Kit Malthouse on Dangerous Dogs, Moronic Views?

I think I ought to get straight to the point and answer my own question.

Are Kit Malthouse's views on how to tackle the problem of dangerous dogs moronic?

Why yes. Yes they are.

Kit Malthouse, writing in The Times newspaper has parroted, almost word for word, the rhetoric and mistruths spewed up by former Home Secretary Ken Baker in calling for a ‘gentle phasing out’ of ‘weapon dogs’.If ever you needed evidence that the ‘status dog’ message was going to cause more harm than good (as I have often repeated myself) then here we have it.

The RSPCA has their own ‘status dog’ campaign. I know this, because they sometimes send me emails asking for donations to help with the ‘status dog’ problem.

Still, to this day, nobody has EVER been able to give me a legal or even a loose definition of what a ‘status dog’ actually is, but let’s move on from that little oversight to the rantings of Malthouse – who is also a member of the London Assembly.

In his Times piece, he writes:

certain types of dogs are inherently more aggressive than other. At the top of the list are bull breeds, developed for one purpose: to attack and fight.

Bull terriers were bred as weapons, to duel or bait with, for their owner’s entertainment and status, and only once we recognise their atavistic instincts, as those who train them to fight do, can we start to frame legislation that may have a lasting effect. As well as punishing owners appropriately for use of this weapon, we should be bolder about removing it from circulation altogether.

I have emphasised the last line and I’m sure it will send a chill down the spine.

What, exactly, is he proposing?

We already HAVE breed specific legislation! We have the law that his equally ignorant partner in bull breed prejudice implemented in 1991. How can it be that we’ve had a law for nearly 20 years that was designed to do EXACTLY what these two are calling for, and yet the ‘status dog problem’ is, we are told, bigger than ever?

The irony seeping out of the entire article is pungent. But it gets worse, much worse.

In Ontario, that is what has happened. The provincial government produced a law that banned all bull breeds and derivatives, including pitbulls and the Staffordshire bull terrier. All such existing dogs had to be registered, neutered and muzzled, leading to the bull-types dying out and owners learning to love the labrador or pug. The result? A huge fall in the number of dog-related injuries and incidents. This approach manages to be both humane to those who have a dog of this type and draws a line under the problem.

Serious penalties will make dog owners think twice, but surely it is time for us to look to our Commonwealth cousins and find a way gently to phase out the canine weapons that terrorise the streets of Peckham, Toxteth and Moss Side.

You may have noticed, Mr Malthouse is actually calling for a ‘gentle phasing out’ (which means killing, by the way – gentle phasing out sounds better, but it means killing) of  bull breeds.

If you own a bull breed ‘or derivative’ I can imagine how your feeling right now.

But don’t worry, you can just ‘learn to love the Labrador or the Pug’.

Yes, here is a man who is clearly in touch, who clearly understands how to ‘fix’ the problem of irresponsible dog ownership – it involves ‘gentle phasing out’. That’s his final solution.

But let’s have a look at the height of his ill informed idiocy.

The provincial government produced a law that banned all bull breeds and derivatives, including pitbulls and the Staffordshire bull terrier. All such existing dogs had to be registered, neutered and muzzled, leading to the bull-types dying out and owners learning to love the labrador or pug.

The above is categorically untrue. Absolutely categorically not true. Don’t believe me? Well speak to anyone in Ontario about how well their breed ban is working out and ask anyone who had their dog taken and killed if they’ve, instead ‘learned to love the Labrador or Pug’ instead. (I’m not even TOUCHING the health issues related to a Pug, they’d be wasted on this guy.)

The process he’s described is the exact process we implemented in 1991. It’s BSL. And yet here we are, moaning about the rise in ‘weapon dogs’.

When will these people realise that the definition of madness is to do the same things over and over and expect a different result?

Want a further insight in to his thinking? Read this:

Clearly, owners are part of the solution: they are in possession of a weapon and should be treated as such

Yes, you read that correctly. Owners are only ‘part’ of the solution, this final solution for bull breeds.


Owners are ALL of the solution.

Dogs, all of them, are the product of their upbringing and environment.

Now, let’s examine some stats shall we:

Cadey-Lee Deacon: Killed by her grandparent’s dogs at her grandparent’s home (Rottweiler)

Ellie Lawrenson: Killed by her uncle’s dog whilst at her grandparent’s home  in care of grandmother (Pit Bull)

Archie-Lee Hirst: Killed by his grandparent’s dog whilst in the care of a young babysitter (Rottweiler)

Jaden Mack: Killed by his grandmother’s dogs whilst in care of grandmother who was asleep (Staffie and Jack Russell)

Now, remind me – which of these dogs are the ‘weapon’ dogs terrorising our city streets.

These are the dogs on the fatality list. Fatalities caused by dogs occur, almost without single exception, in the family home and tend to be carried out by dogs belonging to the family of the person (usually a child) who is killed.

There is a pattern to fatal dog attacks (have a read of the stats I’ve just posted, even a moronic legislator should be able to spot the pattern).

Malthouse opened his piece by citing The RSPCA:

The RSPCA says its hospitals are “full to the brim” with weapon dogs

Weapon dogs?

Could we do a BETTER job of ‘branding’ these dogs, because, you know, I think there’s still one or two of the thuglife on the street who haven’t heard yet.

Let’s call them; ‘Pyscho dogs’ – ‘Street killa’ – ‘Nike dogs’ – ‘Thugz dogz’ – ‘Beast dogz’.

Because the ONLY job being done with ignorant, ill informed and, frankly, despicable statements like this is creating a DEMAND for the dog from the very people they’re moaning about.

Previously, I wrote ‘What does Alice Cooper and the Dangerous Dogs Act Have in Common?’

By banning something, by whipping up a frenzy about it, by ‘branding’ it, you create a DEMAND for it from the exact demographic you are complaining about.

The history of the world teaches us lessons in this respect.

When you get a locality which becomes a hotspot for suicides, the media coverage and ‘hype’ adds to the problem. We know this to be true.

When you give certain media coverage to the types of teens who enter schools and take lives, it adds to the problem. We know this be true.

When you stick a label on a record ‘Parental Discretion is Advised’ you may as well have done the marketing yourself, to the demographic who you are trying to ‘shield’.

When we spit up a frenzy about ‘weapon dogs’ you are, I guarantee, whetting the appetite for these breeds by the demographic who are responsible for the suffering.

Ignorance may be bliss, but it leads to an exacerbation of the problem.

These labels don’t help. They hinder.

Let’s remind ourselves of some definitive facts:

Cruelty to animals is a crime.
Deliberately intimidating people (with dog or without) is a crime.

So, how about this for a radical idea – if you catch someone being cruel to a dog, you prosecute them under the laws that were put in place for that crime. If you catch someone deliberately intimidating people (with a dog or without) then you prosecute them under the laws that apply. Simply going on ANOTHER dog killing spree will not only fail to resolve the problem, it will spell disaster, resentment and any of the many THOUSANDS of responsible owners of beautiful bull breeds whom Matlhouse would like to ‘gently phase out’, you might want to contact him and let him know your opinion on whether you should be forced to ‘learn to love the Labrador or Pug’.

It is already a crime to do what these youths are being accused of.

A continuation of the failed policies of the Baker government will spell yet more failure.

That there are people who hold these views and happen to have a position of power, makes me – genuinely – ashamed to share the same planet as them, let alone the same country.

Contact Kit Malthouse


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12 Comments » for Kit Malthouse on Dangerous Dogs, Moronic Views?
  1. Ange says:

    Ryan great article but you have some addon/widget plonked in the middle of text x Possible to move plz

  2. Marilyn says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more…at last some facts, truth and common sense AND statistics that speak for themselves. Or like any prohibition isn’t it? BSL is crazy, ineffective, unnecessary and self defeating. The dog rescue I support tells me that the 2 worst dogs for biting that they have taken in over the years were both labs and they do not cherry pick their beeds of dogs rescued …..

  3. Diane Coles says:

    What an arsehole! I know of LOADS of attacks by labradors on dogs AND people. And for someone who has just slept 3 nights with a Staffie and been loved to pieces, I find his remarks abominable.

    • Pete austin says:

      Diane, calling him an asshole is wrong, assholes have a daily use! This complete troll would still be a half wit if he had five times the intelligence that he has now. A canine racist end of!

  4. Josie says:

    kit malthouse is an ignorant, idiot and believe me I am being very police with my description. The majority of tories could not give a damn about animals, just two examples would be there would be no red coats with hunting dogs and NO animals in circuses. Oh yes, now they want to murder urban foxes. Never, ever would it vote for them.

  5. Lisa Hird says:

    As a behaviourist I have to completely reject this article. Staffies are NOT dangerous and are actually one of the easier breeds to train. In my work I have seen more aggressive LABRADORS

  6. Katrina Atkins says:

    What an ignorant fool. I’m studying a qualification canine behavior and dogs simply aren’t like that. The people are at fault, ban one breed and they will move onto another. My staffod is the sweetest boy imaginable and due to a serious illness he has to be poked, prodded and injected by vets all the time and has never objected – often giving the vets a kiss afterwards! He has been attacked by two other dogs and he just ran away – what were they? A jack Russel and a Labrador. I’m not pointing at these breeds – I just detest this fallacy that owners seem to believe there are Bad Breeds that bite but their dogs never would. Dog’s bite – it’s a natural defense mechanism. It’s our job to teach our dogs not to be stressed or scared and to equip them with the lessons they need to be happy well adjusted people (yes people!) Stop looking at the wrong end of the lead!!!!

  7. nikki crowe says:

    Some dogs deemed dangerous are crosses with labrador (lennox) and the history of the staffie, well he’s just an innocent pug cross!!
    And with a good breeding program you can make a lab into a status dog. Infact if you cross a lab with a pug im sure you’d end up with a dog looking like a status mutt! CRAZY

    How do we go forward and stop a massive cull?

  8. Jan says:

    A staffordshire bull terrier moved into our weeks two cats were killed by it and a man almost lost a more sentimental crap about staffies called..they are matter what their apologists say they must be banned as so many are owned for the wrong reasons

  9. Ange says:

    Stone the crows I felt the need to reply to Mr Malthouse directly. I sent my email the day I read this. I finally had a reply in August and it wasnt even from him but Steven Greenlaugh!! It was nothing but claptrap.

    Nikki couldnt agree more & Jan, all dogs chase cats all dogs can kill a cat. Its down to owners to minimise this risk by never allowing their dogs to wander & making sure they have 100% recall & also socialised well and trained. More of us own these dogs for the RIGHT reasons so I should not be penalised for the idiot who uses his dog as a Penis Extension

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About Me
Ryan O'Meara
Ryan O'Meara is the founder of Total Pet Publishing, a former professional dog trainer, current publisher of K9 Magazine, author and commentator on social issues relating to dogs and business. He is a World Animal Day ambassador and one of the co-founder's of the leading UK dog adoption website
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Ryan O'Meara

Total Pet Publishing : K9 Magazine : ViVo Media

My name is Ryan O'Meara.

I am the publisher and editor-in-chief of K9 Magazine. I founded Total Pet Publishing, a specialist media company deciated to pets and pet owners as well as ViVo Media, a hyper-local media venture. I am a former professional dog trainer and author of three books, Clever Dog (life lessons from man's best friend), Newshounds and Amazing Dog Facts & Trivia.

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Kit Malthouse on Dangerous Dogs, Moronic Views?