Legislation dogfight

Natasha Powell, of Ashfield, with her dog Scout. Picture: Marcus Whisson d406183
Natasha Powell, of Ashfield, with her dog Scout. Picture: Marcus Whisson d406183

Ms Powell was one of more than 12,000 people who signed a petition tabled by Maylands MLA Lisa Baker in Parliament earlier this month, expressing opposition to the Bill.

The purpose of the Bill was to introduce a range of measures that would provide greater protection for the community and improve controls on dogs by, among other things, identifying dangerous dogs.

Ms Powell’s dog, named Scout, is an American Staffordshire terrier cross mastiff and she said targeting certain dog breeds was not effective and that any dog regardless of breed could be a menace due to irresponsible ownership.

‘Breed specific legislation relies on visual identification of restricted breeds,’ she said.

‘Many innocent dogs and responsible owners will suffer under the laws because of looks.

‘Breed specific legislation has not been effective in reducing dog attacks in 20 countries.’

Ms Powell said instead of targeting specific dog breeds, the new laws should follow a Canadian model that was based on education, enforcement and governs animal control.

‘It reduced attacks by 50 per cent,’ she said.

‘All puppies should be sterilised and have mandatory training ” a dog well socialised, sterilised and trained is far less likely to be involved in an attack or end up in the pound.’

Ms Baker said rather than promote responsible ownership, the Bill let rangers seize dogs based on appearance.

‘This gives people a false sense of protection, in light of the fact that aggression in dogs is not a personality trait that can be stopped by identifying one breed over another,’ she said.