• by: Kirsten Reed
  • recipient: RSPCA Australia, State Premiers and Chief Minister in all Australian States

In the wake of a recent dog attack, rather than addressing a flawed system and its need for change, the head of RSPCA Victoria compounded the existing problems with hype, hysteria, and nonsense with this public statement, in which he refers to pit bulls as 'time bombs': http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/rspca-victoria-president-dr-hugh-wirth-blogs-on-the-pit-bull-problem-in-victoria/story-e6frf7jo-1225788267670.
Now more than ever the Australian public needs good leadership and reliable information, to encourage responsible pet ownership, and ensure public safety.

While the rest of the world, most recently the UK and the Netherlands, push forward with progressive policies that favour responsible and safe dog ownership, Australia's situation spirals into tragedy and chaos: The press has attributed attacks by Lab crosses, Mastiffs, and many other breeds to pit bulls--most reporters cannot be relied upon for accurate breed identification-- and their stories fuel what has become a witch hunt. Attacks by others breeds, such as Australian Cattle Dogs are common, but seldom warrant a mention in the paper, or a visit from the local council. The negative hype surrounding certain breeds inspires negligent / abusive owners to seek them out, placing the dogs and the public at risk. A breed ban on American Pit Bull Terriers has forced the entire breeding practice into the hands of backyard breeders who are ruining the breed's reputation with poorly bred, temperamentally unsound dogs. Breed ignorance encourages the public to blame the dogs, rather than owners, for their own mismanagement.

Dogmagazine.net had this to say about the UK RSPCA's repeal of Breed Specific Legislation in January 2009:

The UK can put itself in a position to follow the example set by the Netherlands in repealing section 1 in favour of a law that will place the burden of responsibility on owners rather than terminating the lives of dogs who are guilty of nothing more than looking a certain way.

In the words of the ASPCA, Breed Specific Laws are damaging because:

Good owners and dogs are punished

BSL also causes hardship to responsible owners of entirely friendly, properly supervised and well-socialized dogs who happen to fall within the regulated breed. Although these dog owners have done nothing to endanger the public, they are required to comply with local breed bans and regulations unless they are able to mount successful (and often costly) legal challenges.

They impart a false sense of security
Breed-specific laws have a tendency to compromise rather than enhance public safety. When limited animal control resources are used to regulate or ban a certain breed of dog, without regard to behavior, the focus is shifted away from routine, effective enforcement of laws that have the best chance of making our communities safer: dog license laws, leash laws, animal fighting laws, anti-tethering laws, laws facilitating spaying and neutering and laws that require all owners to control their dogs, regardless of breed. -www.aspca.org

Please join me in urging Australian law makers and animal welfare agencies to educate the public and end the cruelty of B.S.L. Thank you!

To RSPCA Australia, Premiers Anna Bligh, Nathan Rees, Mike Rann, Colin Barnett, John Brumby, and Chief Minister Paul Henderson:

The head of RSPCA Victoria in Australia recently denounced pit bulls as "time bombs" and urged them to be bred out of existence. We the undersigned request your help to discourage such appalling and misleading sentiments from animal welfare organisations and government bodies, and are calling for an end to the Australia-wide Breed Ban that supports this prejudice.

Australia falls behind most developed nations in regard to its out-dated, ineffective and draconian dog laws. The money and manpower spent in enforcing this legislation would be far better spent on educating the public on dog safety, encouraging responsible dog ownership, regulating, and where necessary, penalising irresponsible owners of all breeds.

Please join governments and councils in the the UK, Netherlands, USA, and Canada, to name a few, who are acknowledging that Breed Specific Legislation does not work, and proactively implementing policies that do. B.S.L. punishes responsible owners and results in the heartbreaking and senseless destruction of countless well-behaved family pets, whilst not adequately targeting the problem of bad owners and dangerous dogs. Statistics show it does not decrease dog bites or dog attacks.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and review this situation

Yours Sincerely,
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