Alice Cooper & The 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act

Some people never learn from the mistakes of history. Ken Baker is one of those people. His introduction of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act and, along with it, breed specific legislation (outlawing/banning certain dogs by ‘type’) has been an unmitigated failure. A disaster on every level. Dog attacks have not reduced, the cost of attempting to implement his loony legislation has sky-rocketed, innocent dogs have died and, perhaps more importantly, there are people who weren’t even born when he rushed through the Act who are easily and joyfully getting any dog that is marketed to them as a ‘Pit’ a ‘Dogo’ or even a ‘Tosa’. Why? It’s obvious, really. When you try and ban something, you give it the biggest, baddest, most powerful marketing push possible….

Alice Cooper, founder of the Solid Rock foundation – a charity that helps disadvantaged youngsters

Alice Cooper, founder of the Solid Rock foundation – a charity that helps disadvantaged youngsters

The year is 1972.

Word from the United States is that original ‘shock-rock’ superstar Alice Cooper is making headlines for doing terrible, depraved things in a live stage show containing everything from animal sacrifice to full on necrophilia.

Of course, rumour and gossip fuel the fires. In reality, one single incident propelled Alice Cooper to notoriety. At a concert in Toronto someone in the crowd threw a live chicken on stage. Why anyone would bring a live chicken to a rock concert is anyone’s guess, but Cooper collected the bird and, being a boy from Detroit who’d never been on a farm in his life, threw it back – assuming “It had wings, I thought it would fly.”

Except, it didn’t quite fly as much as it plummeted back in to the crowd.

A sea of blood, guts, wings, feathers and media storm erupted.

“Alice Cooper kills chicken and drinks the blood.”

“Satanic Cooper sacrifices animals at live concert.”

“Evil Alice kills animals in frenzied sacrifice in front of baying mob”.

Well, you get the picture.

The rumours that surrounded Cooper and his stage show grew and grew – as rumours are prone to do. Before you knew it, Alice Cooper was the anti-Christ and the children of the world were not safe from the evil he spewed.

Nobody, it would seem, bothered to actually find out much more than that. Especially Mary Whitehouse the veteran ‘media standards and decency’ campaigner who busied herself by deciding on our behalf what we should and should not be allowed to see, think or do.

When it was announced that Alice Cooper would be bringing his shock-fest to the UK, Whitehouse went in to overdrive.

She lobbied MPs. Some of them supported her. In fact one MP, Leo Abse objected to Cooper’s show so much, he accused him “peddling the culture of a concentration camp.” Strong stuff.

The frenzy surrounding the most villainous man in music built and built.

Watching this all unfold were, basically, three groups;

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1) The outraged.

2) The sensible.

3) The really, really, really, really, really EXCITED!

Whitehouse did not manage to ‘ban’ Cooper from bringing his show to the UK. Nor did the MPs, he was after all a singer, not a criminal.

Given the mass hysteria surrounding rock’s baddest of the bad, which of the following scenarios do you think played out upon his eventual landing on UK soil?

1) The public shunned the morally corrupt singer and sent him packing where he would later fade in to obscurity

2) Without doing a SINGLE stroke of his own PR, he sold Wembley Stadium out TWO nights in a row


Cooper’s sold out Wembley shows elevated his career to a new high. He is still going (very) strong to this day.

Had Mary Whitehouse actually met him before making her judgement, she’d discover that Alice Cooper is a devoted family man, born again Christian, keen golfer and one of the GREATEST showmen alive. The Alice Cooper show is a morality play. It’s a character showing, teaching, if you like, that if you do bad things, then bad things happen to you. Alice – the character – never ‘gets away’ with anything. It’s more Shakespeare than Satanism. In fact, I’ve found myself streaming out of Alice Cooper concerts (I’ve been to many. Many, many!) to sometimes overhear the dissefected youth of the day say “Well the music was great, but I thought it’d be all Satanic and stuff.” The greatest disappointment Mary and Leo would have found at an Alice Cooper gig is the sheer lack of the demonic, satanic elements and lack of corruption of the young, impressionable audience – the same young, impressionable audience who Mary and Leo DROVE to the show with their ill informed hype and tittle tattle.

Ken Baker has done the same job for the Pit Bull.

He’s made a dog breed that is owned and loved by millions the ‘poster child’ of canine badness. He’s made the breed the 1972 version of Alice Cooper.

Only there’s one big difference, Alice Cooper sent Mary Whitehouse a bouquet of flowers every year up until her death, so grateful was he for the career platform she built for him. I’m fairly sure the countless owners and dogs who’s lives have been wrecked by Baker’s 1991 act will not feel such affection for him.

Breed Specific Legislation has failed. By demonising a breed, any breed, you make it attractive to the sort of people who will do a fine job of perpetuating negative stereotypes. I wonder. Will the same disaffected youth who turned up at Alice Cooper concerts only to leave saying “Well, music was good but a bit disappointed at the lack of animal sacrifices” be overheard to say “Well, dog’s all nice and everything. Bit disappointed at the lack of psychotic viciousness though.” about their newly, illegally obtained ‘Pit Bull type’ dogs?

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Ryan O

Ryan O'Meara

Ryan O'Meara is the editor & publisher of K9 Magazine. A former professional dog trainer, Ryan is the author of several dog books and appears regularly in the media discussing a variety of canine issues. He lives in the East Midlands with his two dogs, Danny & Christopher.


  1. Ken Baker has blood on his hands. He made a decision that the pit bull is a demon, status dog, and guess what……….it became one.
    I dont mean that the pit bull is a dangerous awful dog, just that the media has convinced the public that this is not the dog that we should allow in the UK.
    It is of type, whatever that may mean, made up of a load of manufactured characteristics, a political load of garbage. Who suffers ? The dog, yes, and the public too. Ken Baker will argue that it was the 1997 amendment that made the DDA 1991 such a failure, well he would, wouldnt he as it was Labour that brought that in
    Banning a breed can never work. It actually took the responsibility and any sentencing off the owner and put it on the dog. Crazy law, and I guess Ken Baker has never owned or been near a pit bull . If he had, he would realise how foolish the law is.
    The pit bull and three other breeds are picked on, yet other breeds can do damage in the wrong hands. You can either do what is right and concentrate on owners or ban all large breeds, which is unthinkable. You cannot, however discriminate. Its racism amongst dogs. No wonder the Conservatives wont repeal, seeing as it was them that brought in this pathetic law. The 2010 defra consultation had over seventy per cent of the public requesting the repeal of section one, yet the new consultation doesnt even mention the repeal. Why did they bother with the consultation if they were going to do things their way, why speak with the BVA if they werent going to listen. Oh, I forgot, Ken Baker knows best. He is an animal behaviourist, just like Cameron and Lord Taylor. Just like Alice Cooper thinking a chicken could fly………………

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