Jun 1, 2010

Victoria's Proposed Dog Laws

G'day Dog Lovers,

Have you heard about the proposed changes to Victoria's dangerous dog laws?

If these changes come into effect, council rangers will be able to kill unregistered dangerous dogs found roaming the streets, and owners will not have the right to appeal. Fines will also increase for owners who do not register their restricted breeds of dogs or who breach the terms of registration.

Premier John Brumby told reporters "This is a stronger policy, it's a tougher policy, there will be appeal rights that will be removed so the power will be in the hands of councils to make sure they can deal with dangerous dogs that reoffend or restricted breeds that are not complying with the terms of their registration."

We at Dogs Life have for years been complaining about the ineffectiveness of breed specific legislation (check out our March/April 2010 issue for more details) and these proposed changes are particularly worrying.

The prospect of giving council rangers the power to make a life or death decision about dogs puts the power in the hands of one person. What about a fair trial?

And what about the difficulty associated with identifying a dangerous or restricted breed? A couple of years ago I undertook a 2-day course on dog breed identification run by Dogs NSW - most of the other course attendees were council rangers. One of the activities we did was to look at photographs of mixed-breed dogs and try to identify which breeds were present in their make-up. Each photo threw up a range of different suggestions for contributing breeds from everyone in the class and even the experts had trouble agreeing on some photos. This was a perfect demonstration of how difficult it can be to identify dog breeds - so how can we give councils the power to put down a dog just because they think it looks like a dangerous breed?

Lawyers For Animals have put together a detailed response to the proposed laws here - http://lawyersforanimals.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/lfa-dangerous-dogs-bill-submn-24-5-10.pdf It's definitely worth reading.

What do you think about the proposed changes?


Anonymous said...

no way! These proposed changes are ridiculous!

I'm sure most council rangers are responsible people and know what they are doing, but not all of them are. They should not be given the power to make these sort of decisions on the spot.

What if there's a storm and your dog escapes and is found wandering the streets? A ranger picks him up, decides he's dangerous and that's it. This is a stupid idea and I can't believe RSPCA victoria is support it

Anonymous said...

it is unimagineable that rangers will be able to kill unresgesterd dogs!
that is soo mean

Anonymous said...

Harsh? Yes! But responsible dog owners should have nothing to fear.

This only applies to unregistered dogs, at large, deemed to be dangerous.

So if you keep your dog secure on your property at all times this does not apply. If your dog escapes during a thunderstorm and is registered with council (microchip or tags) this does not apply.

If your dog escapes during a storm, is not registered with council and is just roaming the streets without any issues this again does not apply.

The dog must be at large AND unregistered AND do something aggressive for this to apply.

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