A woman is petitioning to end the Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) after her Staffordshire Bull Terrier is forced to wear a muzzle every time she leaves the house.

Anita Mehdi, 56, from Middlesbrough, was shocked when Lola was seized by the police in August, 2019, for fitting the BSL measurements.

The police were initially called because someone had reported Lola as a vicious Pit Bull. Despite officers confirming she was an ‘obedient and gentle dog’, Lola now has to wear a muzzle whenever in public.

This is due the BSL that restricts the ownership of certain types of dogs based on their appearance - despite there being ‘no research to demonstrate that these breeds or types are any more aggressive’.

After being seized, Lola developed anxiety and “trembled at the sight of her muzzle”, which drove Anita to set up a petition to amend the BSL, to allow dogs that have been expertly assessed to ‘live by the same laws as any other dog’.

Owner Anita told TeamDogs of her heartache on the day the police came to their home. She said: “Lola was taken from our house and put in a cage in the back of a police van.

“I wasn’t allowed to know where she was going or how long she would be there. I wasn’t even allowed to give her any food, toys or a blanket with our scent. I was hysterical.”

Lola was at risk of being euthanised for meeting the measurements on the BSL, despite not being aggressive or dangerous to the public.

“The officer assessed Lola and confirmed she was a well-balanced, obedient and gentle dog that showed no signs of aggression,” Anita said.

“The kennels also commented on how lovely and good-natured she was.”

“The court agreed that Lola was not a risk to the public, but because she was labelled a BSL ‘type’, she must wear a muzzle and be kept on a lead in public for the rest of her life.

“No more long walks, no more playing fetch with her ball.

“It is so unfair. Our lives have changed forever,” Anita said.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Lola was seized by the police for fitting the BSL measurements, despite officers confirming she was an ‘obedient and gentle dog’
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Lola was seized by the police for fitting the BSL measurements, despite officers confirming she was an ‘obedient and gentle dog’

When Lola returned home, she cried at the sight of Anita, and her vet diagnosed her with anxiety and stress.

“She was completely traumatised,” Anita said.

“She started to pee herself, and I couldn’t even take her to the vets because she trembled at the sight of her muzzle.

“Lola was placed on anti-anxiety medication for the while, and refused to leave the house.”

Anita cannot get health insurance for Lola, as she is a BSL ‘type’.

“Lola is much happier now, but we only go out once a day. She isn’t interested in the park anymore. She cannot catch a ball or carry a stick with her muzzle on. It breaks my heart.”

Anita set up a petition to “Exempt dogs assessed by experts as safe from breed specific legislation”.

She hopes to collect 100,000 signatures to consider the petition for a debate in Parliament.

The petition description reads: “Amend the breed specific legislation to create a clause where by dogs that have been expertly assessed and found to be no more risk to the public than any other breed, to be exempted from breed specific legislation and allowed to live by the same laws as any other dog.”

Owner Anita has set up a petition to end BSL to allow Lola to live by the same laws as any other dog
Owner Anita has set up a petition to end BSL to allow Lola to live by the same laws as any other dog

A statement about BSL on the RSPCA website reads: “In the UK, BSL bans the ownership of four different types of dogs traditionally bred for fighting: pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero.

“Breed Specific Legislation was introduced as part of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to restrict the ownership of certain types of dogs deemed to be dangerous to people.

“Dogs suspected of being a banned type are typically seized by the police and can spend significant time in kennels away from their owners during which they are assessed to determine whether or not the dog is a banned type.

“Whilst some dogs will return home to be kept under strict conditions, sadly, some have to be euthanised - because of the way they look.

“There is no research to demonstrate that these breeds or types are any more aggressive than other dogs.”

You can sign Anita’s petition to end BSL . Keep up to date with the petition on Lola’s Facebook page .

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