For deed not breed...... It is one year on. One year since the tragedy of Ellie Lawrensens death after being attacked by her uncles dog later identified by the Police as a Pit Bull type. A shocking loss of life that was a damning indictment of the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) legislation. Everyone who knew anything about dogs had always realised that the DDA was flawed because it attempted to make the public feel safe by banning certain dogs based on their phenotype. The tragic death of Ellie showed that the ban didn't work - and the more recent death of another child showed that banning breeds would always miss the mark. It is also one year on from the formation of Deed Not Breed. Deed not Breed was set up as a direct response to the Chief Constable of Merseysides' plan to have an amnesty for Pit Bulls in Liverpool, Merseyside. We were appalled at the shocking death of a child and appalled at the knee jerk reaction of the Police, within just a few days of the incident, to declare an amnesty. The Chief Constable thought he could rid the streets of illegal dogs by asking the criminals to hand them in! Instead what followed was the death of hundreds of dogs - many of whom were harmless, family pets. This amnesty has resulted in well over 100 dogs being destroyed during the amnesty and at least that many since. 57 owners of dogs that we've dealt with directly have been taken through the courts and the dogs added to the register, all deemed to be pit bull types, and all deemed to be safe to live in family homes. In all these cases the determining factor ended up being the suitability of the owners to have these dogs. However, 90 dogs remain imprisoned, all for over 3 months, a large majority for coming up to 12 months. Some of these dogs are suffering from extreme kennel stress, at least two have chewed their own tails off, some have developed extreme personality disorders, and some have died in tragic circumstances. Kiel Simpson received a prison sentence of just 8 weeks for owning the dog that killed Ellie Lawrensen (he served less than 4 weeks in Prison) yet other people and their innocent dogs are still paying the price months down the line. So what have we been doing during our first year? Deed Not Breed held two rallies in Liverpool centre to raise awareness of what the amnesty would really mean for the dogs. Each rally had over 750 people attending and each received coverage in the local newspapers and radio. These rallies raised the profile of the wider implications of the amnesty and helped to start to change the public debate away from Devil Dogs and more on to the real issues centred around responsible dog ownership. They were also the start of our long and tempestuous relationship with Merseyside Police. We began the year as hostile forces on opposite sides of the argument. The Chief Constables faith in an amnesty was and is infuriating. However, once we had engaged with officers in the force that had to implement the policies we found many who were sympathetic to the arguments we made, and others who have worked with us to take some of the worst excesses out of the situation. Deed not Breed has 3 help lines two of which are run by the Bull Breed Advisory Service who have been dealing with DDA cases for 16 years. The lines were opened in January and ran 24/7 for the first few weeks of the year. We still receive calls every single day. These phone lines have given many hours of advice to terrified owners and increasingly to professionals in the field such as animal ambulance staff, some dog wardens and even solicitors faced with dogs and situations they do not know how to handle. The DNB web site was set up within days of the campaign launch and to date has received over 100,000 hits. The site is used to spread the message via press releases, articles and real life accounts. In addition there is the Refuge forum and a supporters page, a shop and links to supporting sites. One success of the site can be seen by the large numbers of visits by the Merseyside Police force in the first few weeks of going live!! Deed Not Breed has raised in excess of £3500 to date, a tremendous amount, which has been used to supply legal support to responsible dog owners caught in the legal system trying to save their dogs from the draconian DDA. We have worked closely with many legal professionals including Trevor Cooper, Pam Rose and Lara Smith. We have been able to arrange for animal behaviourists such as Dr Roger Mugford and Guy Richardson to visit and assess some of the dogs before the court hearings and have an excellent relationship with Julie Pett from SAVED who provides life time support and help for the dogs after they have been allowed to live. We also help pay registration and insurance fees for owners unable to finance this themselves. In addition Deed Not Breed have raised over £3000 for general campaigning which is being used to produce leaflets, buy branded merchandise to sell in our online shop, pay for stalls at dog shows, insurance for public events and more. During this first year the focus has been on helping dogs and owners immediately in danger, firefighting from one crisis to another. We have also spent time surveying every vet in the country [90% of those who responded do not believe that some breeds are more dangerous than others] writing to trainers and breed clubs asking for support and constant questioning on Merseyside police web chats resulting in crashing their site but pressurising them to spend time answering questions that they did not want to answer. So what have we actually achieved in this year? We have managed to develop some excellent relationships with many important and influential bodies, including trainers and behaviourists; rescues; Dog Wardens; Police forces and the Kennel Club. Kennel Club support has been invaluable giving us access to their extensive press contacts and stalls at Crufts and Discover Dogs. We have built up very good relations with the Dog Press resulting in many court reports being brought to the publics attention all year. In July we registered as a not for profit company and throughout the year our supporters have been organising sponsored events to help with fundraising. One supporter and staff member climbed Ben Nevis with her dog, others have shaved their heads and others yet have sold or bought items with the profits going to Deed Not Breed. We have held stalls at various dog shows including Discover Dogs 2007 and raised over £500 through the sale of t-shirts, car stickers, badges and donations. We, along with the Bull Breed Advisory Service have attended many court hearings, giving advice and support to dog owners and assisting legal representatives.