Banning the Staffordshire bull terrier under the Dangerous Dogs Act would be a dreadful miscarriage of justice, celebrity lawyer, Nick Freeman has claimed.
The solicitor who has owned Staffys for over 25 years and who set up a campaign to “rehabilitate the breed`s undeserved reputation”, says those behind the call – debated in Parliament this week – clearly have no understanding of the true nature of the animal.
“Banning Staffys would be the worst kind of injustice as it grossly distorts the breed’s true character, said Mr Freeman who launched Save the Staffy nearly six years ago. “In my experience, they are the most loyal, loving and trustworthy of dogs. All they want to do is lick you and look after you.”
The lawyer known as Mr Loophole for his unparalleled success at winning cases on legal technicalities was speaking out after a parliamentary debate on outlawing the Staffordshire bull terrier.
PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – want to ban Staffys which they say are the most commonly abused and abandoned breed.
However, more than 160,000 dog lovers reacted to their move, signing a petition against the ban, which triggered the Parliamentary debate.
“Their reaction is just madness,” says Nick. “Don`t PETA know that the Kennel Club regard the Staffy as one of only two breeds that they would positively recommend with young children? Certainly, my own two children have grown up with two Staffys from a very early age and there was never the slightest problem. If anything it enhanced their upbringing and taught them a great deal about friendship and loyalty. It`s no coincidence that the Staffordshire bull terrier is nicknamed the ‘nanny dog’, thanks to its reputation as a child’s playmate and guardian.
“Public perception is that this robust little dog who loves nothing better than being in human company is some kind of four-legged killing machine. Not only are attacks – though obviously deplorable – rare. They are most often carried out by crossbreeds.. But the problem is that because Staffys look quite macho they can attract the worst kind of thuggish owner which adds to their undeservedly aggressive reputation.
“It is the owners and not the dogs who should be banned. And we should have a licensing system for those who want a dog to ensure responsible ownership.”
Nick is currently the owner of six-year-old George, who was born, in the South of France and who says the lawyer, accompanies wherever he goes, including the office.
As well as attracting thousands of signatories, the RSPCA has also supported the petition to dismiss the ban saying that Staffys can be wonderful dogs and make lovely family pets.
A spokesman added that banning the breed could make these types of dogs more desirable “to those who may wish to use them to scare or intimidate other people and which can often result in the poor treatment of these types of dogs.”
During the debate, Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy also highlighted the Staffordshire bull terrier as the mascot of the old Staffordshire Regiment – called Watchman – saying that many positive views are held over the breed.
They used to deliver food parcels and messages in the trenches during the First World War. That`s why their collar carries an emblem as a commemoration of this.
At the end of the debate, The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, George Eustace MP, said, “The Government has no plans at all to add Staffordshire bull terriers, or any other type of dog, to the list of prohibited dogs.”
Nick added, “It is absolute madness to even consider banning this wonderful breed of dog. What we should be doing is focusing on tackling irresponsible dog ownership. The likes of PETA should do their research before lashing out at one of the most popular breeds in the country.”