The final day of Francis

Many dog owners will have the chance to plan their friend's final day on Earth. The endless cuddles, the treats previously held back given in fistfuls, that last final slow wander around the block... But for most dogs, euthanasia is the sweet relief, the end of an illness at a grand old age. The end of wobbly legs, of failing vision, of pain.

Today, Monday 25 July, is Francis's last full day. He will be put to sleep tomorrow, but not because it is the best option for him, but because it is the best option, supposedly, for us. Francis is a Pit Bull and that's why he has to die. Under our breed specific legislation, Francis is deemed to be a danger to society. But he doesn't bite or fight, and his temperament is rather lovely. Instead he has been let down by his measurements. His shoulders are too broad, his face too boxy. He fits the type. And that's enough.

Francis is in the care of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, after he was found roaming as a stray in London, and the staff's hands are tied. Because he doesn't have an owner, Francis is not eligible to be exempted from destruction. There is no one to muzzle or insure him, to always walk him on a lead, to comply with every key detail to keep him alive. But find one, I hear you cry! That's not an option either, sadly - Pit Bulls, as well as our other banned breeds, cannot change hands. Francis exists in No Man's Land.

And so, this is the end. As Francis spends his final hours with all the love in the world, he will become yet another innocent life taken by this antiquated, cruel and unjust law, joining many others killed over twenty-five years. All the while, our bite statistics steadily increase.

Rest in peace, Francis. I'm sorry we failed you.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 14.21.39

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home took in 91 dogs in the last year that were deemed to be Pit Bulls. Despite staff believing the vast majority could have been happily rehomed as family pets because of their personalities, all were put to sleep on the basis of their looks.

#EndBSL

Update, 28/07/2016: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have confirmed today that Francis was put to sleep. The charity is urging people to write to their MPs about repealing our breed specific legislation.

All images copyrighted to Dogs Today magazine.

29 comments

    • Frances Pawley 26 July, 2016 at 14:41 Reply

      The law in the UK is that Pit Bulls are considered dangerous. There are many breeds of dog that could be considered dangerous, but the Pit Bull has been singled out.

  1. Vivien Baillie 25 July, 2016 at 17:16 Reply

    So so sad for this beautiful dog. This shouldn’t be happening. Sorry to for the kind and loving staff at Battersea who have done their best for him. RIP sweet baby .

  2. Yvonne Bollington 25 July, 2016 at 20:14 Reply

    This is crazy. Is there any way that I could adopt Francis. I am a responsible dog owner and I have had 7 rescued Rhodesian Ridgebacks and 1 rescue GSD and never had a problem

  3. Piera Onofri 25 July, 2016 at 21:00 Reply

    That is disgusting! I can think of quite a few people who deserve to be put down before these dogs! Nice society you have there!

  4. Sandra Chlubna 25 July, 2016 at 23:04 Reply

    Will someone just please break into that kennel and TAKE HIM. Anybody with any morals knows that this law is wrong, and should be ignored and broken as much as possible.

  5. Susan quirk 26 July, 2016 at 00:11 Reply

    Why has francis got to be put to sleep. If it goes to court and he’s deemed as not aggressive he can be rehomed. He would be tattooed and have to wear a muzzle when being walked but ghats it. They only have to put them to sleep if they are aggressive.

    • Claire wheeler 26 July, 2016 at 10:29 Reply

      Because he doesn’t have a registered owner so no one is there to pay the extortionate costs of up to £8000 to save him

    • Jeanne ODell 26 July, 2016 at 14:28 Reply

      Because of the BSL law. Those back words people That have no hearts are enjoying the power of taking life instead of improving on life.

  6. Karen Cosgrove 26 July, 2016 at 02:27 Reply

    This is atrocious as I know many pit bull owners who love & adore their pet as if it was their own child, would you condemn a child in care to death just because no one has fostered or adopted them yet, have a heart these dogs are just furry friends we haven’t met yet

  7. Sue medforth7 26 July, 2016 at 05:40 Reply

    Cannot believe this beautiful dog will die. Someone needs to stop this barbaric act. Rapist dont die murderers dont die. This poor loving little guy has done nothing. Its the owners that make bad dogs Not the breed poor soul

  8. Janice kendall 26 July, 2016 at 06:59 Reply

    This is another stupid law this poor puppy has done nothing wrong how sad we need to end this if I didn’t already have a dog I’d be on my way to battersea to give him a home bless you little man

  9. Leyla Ballard 26 July, 2016 at 12:17 Reply

    Can’t we just stop the vets from reporting. No one knows what a pitbull looks like really and the law is flawed.

    • Rivka3 15 August, 2016 at 04:56 Reply

      “No one knows what a pitbull looks like really” (American here) I have a lot of experience with pitbulls, and, based on their pictures, the dogs being condemned in the UK seem mainly to be just generic looking mixed breeds. Not that they should be killed even if they were legitimate APBTs-but they aren’t.

  10. Chris 26 July, 2016 at 15:34 Reply

    Dogs are not a danger to anyone, only their owners are. How about we change the law so any dog attacks mean the owner gets put down… Would be fine by me.. Humans suck, animals know no better.

  11. Sylvia Rzeminski 26 July, 2016 at 17:11 Reply

    If humans were killed because of their looks, there would be very few humans beings. This is like a Nazi movement against a particular breed.

    • Stuart Davies 31 July, 2016 at 20:33 Reply

      You are one of the arse ‘oles that condemns everything you don’t understand. Brainless buffoon. I don’t understand you, so that should put an end to your genetic pool. Sadly, it won’t.

  12. Archie 30 July, 2016 at 13:43 Reply

    Pit Bulls were banned in 1991 and there shouldn’t be any in the UK now if people had obeyed the law and the police had made more effort to ensure they were not bred. I am a dog lover – I have 6 rescue dogs – but better never to have been born than put to sleep.

    • Rebecca Hicks 15 August, 2016 at 05:03 Reply

      As an American who has a lot of experience with pitbulls, (although in the USA, we use that word to refer to multiple breeds including English Staffies) the dogs being condemned in the UK do not look like real APBTs. They lack the most typical features-they are just generic short haired mixed breeds.

  13. Stuart Davies 31 July, 2016 at 20:31 Reply

    Look to your crap politicians and the hysterical media, BBC in particular, when some poor dog reaches the end of it cruelty and abuse endurance and fights back..

  14. Lee Branon 1 August, 2016 at 09:19 Reply

    It’s so sad a beautiful dog like Francis pit bull life has been taken away from him cause how looks it’s not right these dogs are getting target for who they are they are the most friendly dogs you will ever meet.
    The laws must be changed cause if it doesn’t this problem with carry on they need to give these dogs some leeway and not judge them on there aperance it must stop and bring in new laws for dogs

Leave a reply