Are these dogs banned by your social work team?

British Association for Adoption and Fostering warns children are being denied suitable homes because councils ban certain dogs

Local authorities are refusing to place children in foster or adoptive homes if their prospective parents own certain dogs, it has emerged.

This has concerned the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), which has now published a good practice guide to help social workers when they are considering placing a child in a home with dogs.

One council deemed all the dogs below unsuitable for under-11s, but BAAF’s guide described this as poor practice.

Staffordshire bull terrier

Staffordshire bull terrier. Photo: REX/Simon Webster

Staffordshire bull terrier. Photo: REX/Simon Webster


Rottweiler. Photo: Cultura/REX (posed by model)

Rottweiler. Photo: Cultura/REX (posed by model)

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian ridgeback. Photo: Rex (posed by model)

Rhodesian ridgeback. Photo: Rex (posed by model)


Doberman. Photo: Jonathan Hordle/REX

Doberman. Photo: Jonathan Hordle/REX


Bulldog. Photo: REX/Dan Callister

Bulldog. Photo: REX/Dan Callister

Border Collie (top)

Border collie (top) Photo: REX/David Caird/Newspix

Border collie (top) Photo: REX/David Caird/Newspix


Alsation. Photo: Image Broker/REX

Alsation. Photo: Image Broker/REX

The ban is said to be the result of a 6% rise in the number of dog attacks reported in England last year. But BAAF chief executive Caroline Selkirk said it would be a “shame” for children in care to miss out on living with a pet, “particularly when it is these children who could benefit the most from the experience”.

BAAF’s guide states some councils ban “particular breeds without evidence to justify this”, which risks preventing, “very suitable families from fostering younger children, simply because they own a particular breed of dog”.

Rather than have rigid policies, the organisation is urging councils to consider each dog as an individual.

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21 Responses to Are these dogs banned by your social work team?

  1. Joe February 4, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    I love how the (waving) Bordie Collie photo comes with instructions! Just in case someone mistakes a border collie for a horse!

  2. Angela Chapel February 4, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    It’s NOT the dogs that are the problem. It’s the owners. If there are concerns over the dogs they seriously need to look at their owners and re do their assessment

  3. Tina February 4, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

    The dog is as good as its owner. I had two yorkies, i put cat flaps in my living room doors and my bedroom so that they could get away from the foster children if they wanted to. I protected my dogs more from the children who could torment them. But in saying that, no one would leave a dog alone with a young child would they? How many of the 6% of children who were attacked were living at home or in fostering/adoption homes? I grew up with more than one dog all my life and they were my best friends and i loved them dearly, how can we deny them the chance to get to know how lovely dogs are. It’s common sense at the end of the day and i would leave it to the foster carers to use their own initiative like most things whether the dog is compatitble with children.

  4. Tim Sneller February 4, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

    Absolutely ridiculous to include the Staffie. This is one of the three breeds that the Kennel Club of Great Britain especially recommend for families with children.

    • Mandie sutton February 4, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

      Absolutely agree we have a staff. she one of the most gentle and child friendly breeds we have ever had.

    • Julie Ollier February 6, 2015 at 10:12 am #

      I completeley agree, they have obviously made snap shot decision which is evidenced via research. Staffies are known as the Nannie Dog as they are so good with children!

  5. Dave M February 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    Gosh…. British Bulldogs on the list. Have they actually seen them, they can hardly breath let alone attck someone! The one we have IS capable of nuking you with his flatulence but that is it. Lovely pet – end of.

  6. Amanda Gardner February 4, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    Staffordshires are known as ‘Nanny’ dogs due to their great affinity with children. They are fantastic with kids – sad that the few that have turned sour from abuse by owners who have treated them as fashion accessories has tainted a whole breed.

    • Tricia Taylor February 4, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

      More attention must be paid to the owners. There is a rottwieler cross in my family and he’s soft as they come. I seem to remember that a Jack Russell was responsible for killing an infant but they never appear in the dangerous dogs list.

  7. Alison February 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

    It’s about time something was done. I work with a fostering agency and we take the individual approach and assess each (and dog) on its behaviour and temperament. However when offering our carers to the various local authorities there is a definite prejudice (based on ignorance) around certain breeds. It’s not about the breed, it is the owner and their ability to train and socialise the dog that matters.

  8. Tammy M February 4, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    Its ridiculous. Like many others have already said, there’s no “bad” dogs just bad owners. Anyone who raised and trained their dog to be aggressive shouldn’t be fostering or left in charge of an animal in the first place. Dogs/cats/rabbits animals make beautiful companions and often make children happier than they would be without one, as well as being very protective of the children in their household.

  9. Aly February 4, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    This is unbelievably silly. Any dog is capable of biting or having behavioural problems it is down to the owner, breeder, training given or not given and being responsible as an owner and or parent. . There are other breeds with worse bite sratistics so why are they not mentioned. Deed not Breed.

  10. Claire may February 4, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    I made application to become a foster carer 12 years ago, I had an appointment set up for someone to explain the process. On the morning of the appointment I received a call wherby I was informed that they had gone over my application again and realised I had a Rottweiler. I was told that this breed is not accepted in the fostering application. This was in Derby. Refusing application because Of a family pet is not new news.

  11. Linda S February 4, 2015 at 10:17 pm #

    Sigh. What is it about the British and animals?

    BAAF should stop pandering to public opinion and put children’s needs first.

    What about the six-day-old baby in Wales who was savaged by two family pets, which had apparently not shown any?

    The safety of the child must be paramount.

    Yes, there is the issue of the owner and the individual dog – but how on earth are social workers to judge how well a dog is trained or its nature or how suitable an owner someone is? Are they now supposed to become animal experts?

    Moreover, all dogs can bite, all can get angry or stressed, especially with young children, and become vicious, especially with young children. Some breeds are definitely worse than others. Terriers, such as staffies, have particularly strong jaws, which are dangerous. And no child should ever be placed, for example, in a family with a Rottweiller or Doberman.

    Yes, the Kennel Club does say that staffies make good family pets. However, here’s an example of a woman who was bitten to death by her pet staffie:

    Local councils must be cautious on behalf of these children and avoid placing them in homes with these dogs.

    • Morbius February 6, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

      Truly the most ill informed comment I’ve seen for a very long time. Your opinion does NOT equate to fact, you may want to remember that when attempting to present it as such.

      ‘All dogs can bite’, what did you base this great nugget of non information on? Presumably the FACT that most dogs have teeth? All humans have teeth, therefore all humans are also capable of biting. Shall we not allow any humans to adopt humans, since they all have the capability of biting?

      ‘All can get angry or stressed’ ‘And become vicious’. No actually all dogs are NOT likely to become angry, stressed or vicious. All humans are CAPABLE of becoming angry, stressed or vicious, again, shall we ban all humans, on the assumption that if they’re capable of something, that must mean they will do it? Whether a dog ‘becomes vicious’ angry or stressed depends entirely on its temperament, much like humans, and how the dog has been trained and socialised, much like humans.

      ‘And no child should ever be placed, for example, in a family with a Rottweiller or Doberman.’ Based on what, your prejudice and breedist view that the way a dog looks is somehow a definitive and infallible judgement passing tool on a dog’s individual character?

      ‘Some breeds are definitely worse than others’ – NO, no they’re not. The fact that you clearly have no idea of what you are speaking, and instead choose to rely on the high number of reported incidents regarding certain breeds, because it has been or is currently the fashion to demonise these breeds to sell papers, TV shows and other media to uninformed fools, does not equate to fact. Your personal prejudice towards certain breeds of dogs does not equate to fact, it equates to prejudice, pure and simple. It’s about as accurate and close to the truth as similarly prejudiced and ill informed fools saying ‘all Irish people drink more alcohol’ or ‘white people can’t dance’.

      Dogs are individuals. Just like humans. Not everyone for example, writes biased prejudice ill informed nonsense on forums, as though it were absolute truth, and is unable to see past their own idiocy.

      I could attach an example of any number of humans killing, abusing or otherwise harming other humans here: however, since most people aren’t ill informed fools, we know my doing so would actually equate to absolutely nothing, and it certainly would never equate to ‘we must ban all humans’ based on the actions of a few.

  12. Imelda Hall February 5, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    Banned breeds are banned breeds. Find out which breeds are banned, as would be from ANY home and then report to dog warden who will do a check and take appropriate action. None of the above dogs are banned breeds and hence if they are appropriately behaved and well treated by their owners then any child would thrive with these beautiful animals.

  13. mark February 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    Are these dogs banned by our social work team? Absolutely not! We are so desperate for workers we will take anyone. (boom tish)

  14. Ellie February 5, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    Never seen anything so stupid in my life! It is both negligent, and damaging to the welfare of the child, to prevent the child from being provided a foster home just because the residents have a dog. Moreover, to “outlaw” particular breeds, without even providing any evidence to suggest that these breeds are more “dangerous” than the “average” dog is truly ludicrous.

    ANY dog can nip or bite. By the same dint, ANY dog can be pleasant and well-behaved. It is NOT a question of the dog; but rather of the owner. Dogs that are poorly raised and badly trained will clearly have no idea how to behave appropriately around children, or adults, for that matter. Dogs that are not well looked-after may hide health conditions that make them grumpy and short-tempered – thus more likely to snap at a child that is in contact with them.

    These are issues that dog owners should seek to remedy. Dogs, like humans, have a capacity to learn, and begin learning at an early age. They need to be properly socialized; getting them used to other animals, humans, the environment. They need to be trained, from puppyhood. They need to be well fed, well housed, groomed, exercised. The care lavished on any pet, including a dog, shows in its behaviour.

    This applies equally to children, and we should be aware that some dog “attacks” occur because a child is actually annoying the dog. Little children do not automatically understand how to act around pets – they need to be taught. They need to learn not to pull an animal’s ears or tail; not to steal its toys or food; not to wake it when it’s sleeping…

    I recall, when writing this, an incident that occurred when I was a little child. I was bitten by a hamster! My own hamster! Why? Because nobody had taught me that a) hamsters are nocturnal, and b) hamsters do not like being woken in the daytime! Believe me, even a hamster bite is a shock to the system!

    It saddens me to see such ignorant, stereotype-based actions being played out in the field of Social Work. Are workers unable to judge for themselves the nature and suitability of a home containing a dog? Must they rely on the old (and incorrect) stereotypes of “dangerous dogs”? Must they BLAME the dog – without considering the behaviour of the owner, or the level of understanding that the child in question has of how to act around a pet?

    I take it, then, that many of you would be surprised to learn that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was once known as the “nanny dog”, due to it’s good natured behaviour around children! Try reading……

    for more on the true nature of the Staffie. Sites such as this, and ones run by the Kennel Club can also give information on other breeds, as well. It surprises me that, with modern Internet access, workers do not think to look up such things on-line; or maybe even telephone the Kennel Club for advice; before discounting what may be a perfectly suitable foster home for a child, simply because a dog lives there!

  15. linda February 5, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

    I find that the behaviour of animals in the homes I visit tells me a lot about the true nature of the family. Many social workers I meet seem to fear dogs and quite frankly are prejudiced because of this. Yes there are dogs who have killed, there are also humans who have killed children. Children’s lives are more likely to be enriched by having a happy family dog around.

  16. Stuart Holmes February 5, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

    I used to be the social worker for foster carers who acquired two rottweilers. It was before the child deaths and media frenzy that led to the dangerous dogs act and before my employer had a policy on dogs and foster care. But I knew they were big dogs who could do pletnty of damage even without biting. I worried permanently about whether the family should have further placements. That employer does now have a dog policy but it’s about assessment of the dog(s) not the owners and assessment of the child’s suitability for placement with a dog or other pet is very much down to individual worker concerned. Dog lovers are clearly very vocal but I wouldn’t like to be the person in Derby who takes Rotties off the banned list and then finds one of them has harmed a child in care.

  17. michelle b February 8, 2015 at 12:52 am #

    I am currently a foster carer for local authority. I have 2 LAC at this moment in time, one age 3.5 and one age 4.5. I also help out with respite, emergency care and day care for other children ranging from birth to 5 years of age. I have a ridgeback cross staffy age 4 and a staffy cross mastiff age 2. Both rescue dogs, both big, lively and totally slobber chops. I also have 3 cats all rescue too. One of the cats if more dangerous than the two dogs together, due to the history of abuse. I have regular pet assessments and obviously teach the children respect of the dog as well as training the dog as best as possible with children. All safeguarding procedures are put in place and to this day, NEVER have I had any issues from local authority nor the parent / s.workers etc. The worst allegation I had was a family found a cats hair !! woopppiiieeeeee !!!!!!!1 Bloody BSL needs to be aboloshed immediately, Any dog owner or member of the public with a bit of savy will no ” ITS THE DEED NOT THE BREED ” crack down on irresponsible owners not labelling the dog because of its breed. You would be struck off if you discriminated against the kids like this so whats the difference ????????????