A new law was implemented in Victoria, Australia last week that will lead to the seizure and killing of any dog fitting the criteria for an unregistered restricted breed found after the law goes into effect.
Targeted breeds include the American pit bull terrier, perro de presa canario, dogo Argentino, Japanese tosa and fila Brasileiro. Anyone with a look-alike will need will need to show papers or a certificate from a veterinarian as proof.
In addition to registering their dogs, owners will have to prove that their dogs are spayed/neutered, microchipped, kept in an inescapable enclosure, muzzled and leashed off of their property and accompanied by someone at least 17 years old. Owners may also be fined up to $4,885 if they lose control of their dog and $2,442 if their dog escapes, or they move without notifying authorities, according to the AP.
The new law was spurred by recent attacks but has many worried, including the Australian Services Union, that targeting specific breeds will not only be ineffective in preventing attacks, but will also increase the risks to those who are responsible for identifying, seizing and destroying the dogs.
Others, including the union, raised concerns about the legal issues that could arise if a dog was misidentified and destroyed. Take this neat little test to see if you can pick the pit bull.
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) also spoke out against the legislation, with a “ban the deed, not the breed,” stance.
“Our thoughts go out to anyone who has suffered from a dog attack, and the death of a child is particularly distressing,” said Dr Susan Maastricht, Victorian President of the AVA.
“The AVA believes the legislation proposed in Victoria is not a long term solution. The risk is this could lull the community into a false sense of security and do little to address the overall problem of dog bites. We are very concerned that innocent families and family pets will become scapegoats when they’ve done nothing wrong.”
While this new law is only in Victoria, expansion may be supported by other officials.
Photo credit: .melanie via flickr