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To: Queensland Parliament, Dr Anthony Lynham MP for Bris Central
INQUIRY INTO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION (BSL) IN QLD
Dear Honourable Ministers of the Queensland Parliament,
Please support a parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of breed specific legislation in keeping the Queensland public safe from dog attacks. This inquiry should include a review of how Queensland compares to international best practice in responsible dog ownership laws, conducted by a panel of appropriately qualified and experienced experts.
The Queensland community deserves to be kept safe from dog attacks by the best possible laws. The overwhelming evidence is that breed specific legislation is ineffective in preventing dog bites and worldwide breed specific laws are being revoked. The current laws should be reviewed for effectiveness and alternative regulatory models successful elsewhere, like the Calgary model, explored.
It is scientifically proven that many factors other than genetics can be attributed to dog bite incidents including early experience, health, socialisation and victim behaviour. As acknowledged by The Australian Veterinary Association in their report: Dangerous dogs – a sensible solution, most factors relate to the way that a dog is raised, kept and trained, managed. Of the key contributing factors to dog bite injuries identified by the AVA, 80% of these factors are not related to breed.
The Australian Veterinary Association and RSPCA do not support breed specific legislation as a means for protecting the community from dog attacks. Their policy positions and links to further information are provided below.
“Breed-specific legislation (BSL) for dog bite prevention is not supported as experience in other countries has shown that such legislation has failed to reduce the frequency of dog bites.” The Australian Veterinary Association,
“The RSPCA does not support breed specific legislation, also known as BSL. Our view, based on the available international scientific evidence, is that any dog may be dangerous and that dogs should not be declared as ‘dangerous’ on the basis of breed. While we recognise that there is a strong genetic component in a dog’s propensity for aggressive behaviour, their trigger point for aggression and capacity to inflict serious injury, these factors are not isolated to any specific breed. The RSPCA does not believe that BSL is in any way effective in preventing or reducing dog attacks or in protecting the public from dangerous dogs.”
Why is this important?
Authorised Officers of Local Governments have the authority to seize a suspected dangerous breed from it's owner and impound it at cost to the owner to conduct a 22-point visual test to determine if it's an American Pit Bull Terrier. The breed certificate nor any DNA tests can influence the decision of the council to decide if it's destroyed at the owner's expense. This can happen under the current legislation without the dog even being involved in any anti-social behaviours or attacks on other animals or humans prior to the test! Family dogs are being seized and put down without any proof of the breed (aside from a "visual" test lacking any scientific merit) or prior incidences that would deem it dangerous, and at the owner's expense!!
It’s not the breed that makes a dog dangerous; it’s the irresponsible attitude of the owner. Indeed, it is the deed that should be punished, not the breed.