Laws targeting particular dog breeds deemed to be dangerous by the State Government will not reduce dog attacks or make our communities safer, according to Western Australians Against Breed Specific Legislation (WAABSL) spokesperson, Jen Adams.
Ms Adams says the Barnett Government introduced the Dog Amendment Bill 2012 last year and it was expected to come up for debate in State Parliament over the next few weeks.
“The Barnett Government’s proposed changes to the WA Dog Act – which include harsher penalties for owners of dangerous dogs and up to 10 years imprisonment for owners of dangerous dogs that attack, injure or kill people – will not reduce dog attacks,” says Ms Adams.
“These laws give people a false sense of security. Breed specific legislation targeting certain breeds of dogs alleging that those breeds are more dangerous than others has been a failure overseas in countries such as Germany, Italy, Netherlands and parts of Canada and the United States. These countries have repealed failed breed specific legislation in favour of strategies that have been proven to reduce dog attacks.”
Ms Adams said the 2012 Australian Veterinary Association report ‘Dangerous dogs – a sensible solution‘ also rejected breed specific legislation as an effective way to stop dog attacks or prevent aggressive behaviour in dogs.
“Western Australia already has a strict set of regulations for owning restricted breeds, whether full or cross bred, such as wearing a muzzle or dangerous dog collar,” she says. “The law should focus on educating dog owners about responsible dog ownership, not punishing responsible owners and targeting innocent dogs and family pets the way breed specific legislation does.”
Under the Barnett Government’s proposed legislation, rangers will be responsible for identifying a breed of dog simply by looking at it.
“How can it be guaranteed they will get it right each time? Dogs that look like a restricted breed will likely be caught up in this legislation,” she says.
Ms Adams said a public rally against breed specific legislation will take place on Saturday, 13 July beginning at the Supreme Court Gardens at 10.30am. Supporters will make their way to the front steps of Parliament House where a number of politicians will address the rally 12.00pm.
Thousands of people from right across the world will be taking part in the Anti-BSL World Rally on 13 July to send a unified message of abolishing breed specific legislation. People can sign a petition or find out more information about breed specific legislation by visiting Western Australians Against Breed Specific Legislation