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?
Jun 1, 2010
G'day Dog Lovers,