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BSL - Breed Specific Legislation

What Is Breed Specific Legislation?


Since 2005, Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) has been in place in Victoria through the Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animals Act 1994. It is also in place in every other state of Australia except the ACT and NT. BSL places restrictions on certain breeds due to a perception that they are inherently dangerous. In Victoria, the following breeds are restricted under BSL –

The American Pitbull Terrier;
The Fila Brasiliairo;
The Dogo Arentino;
The Japanese Tosa;
And the Perro de Presa Canairo (Presa Canerio)

It is prohibited by Victorian law to buy, sell, trade, or dispose of these breeds and owners are forced to abide by special requirements to keep these breeds. For more information on Victoria’s laws visit the Department Of Primary Industry website at www.dpi.vic.gov.au. 

Why BSL Is Unjust And Doesn’t Work!

Breed Specific Legislation fails to take into account that any breed of dog can be dangerous when in the hands of an irresponsible and neglectful owner. Basing its logic on the notion that certain breeds of dogs present an immediate danger, BSL punishes responsible owners and their beloved pets simply due to their appearance and breed. Meanwhile ample evidence is available to show that BSL does nothing to reduce the rate of dog incidents in the community.


First being introduced in the United Kingdom with the UK Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, BSL has proved to be a dismal failure. Investigation has found that dogs were responsible for 73.9% of all bites before enactment of the legislation and 73.1% of all bites after the legislation had been introduced (Seksel, K, 2002, page 9). A report commissioned by the NSW Government confirms this to be the case in the Australian context also (visit the ASTCV website for a copy of this report).


The flipside of this coin is that thousands of innocent dogs have been destroyed in Australia since the introduction of BSL, leaving many families distraught at the loss of their beloved pets and many more living in fear that their pet could be next.

 

BSL and the American Staffordshire Terrier

In Australia the Amstaff has never been classified as a restricted breed. Rather it is known as a people loving, humour-filled dog that is becoming increasingly popular due to its great temperament and robust structure. However experiences from other parts of the world tell us to be vigilant against the threat of BSL.

In some countries in Europe, notably the UK and Norway, and some jurisdictions in the USA, the American Staffordshire Terrier has fallen under the hammer of BSL. This is due to the breeds close resemblance and ancestry to other restricted breeds, despite there being no scientific evidence to support any notion that the American Staffordshire Terrier poses a threat to the community. In fact evidence from the American Temperament Test Society shows that the Amstaff has an average temperament test pass rate above that of the Society’s all breeds average and much higher than many other popular breeds. (Battista, F, 2007).

What Is The AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER CLUB OF VICTORIA  Doing About BSL? (ASTCV)

Point 12 of the Aims & Objectives of the ASTCV reads –

To oppose by legal means any introduction or further extension of any breed specific or breed referencing legislation relating to the American Staffordshire Terrier.


Members of the ASTCV work to protect our breed from BSL in many ways. On the individual level this starts with being responsible owners and ambassadors for our breed wherever we go.
As an organised body, the ASTCV works to oppose BSL in a number of ways. One of the Clubs primary activities is to attend Pet & Animal Expo’s wherever possible, where the Club’s colourful stands introduce our breed to thousands of members of the general public. The volunteers who staff these stalls, along with their wonderful Amstaffs, work to explain the pitfalls of BSL to the general public and to showcase the great attributes of this magnificent breed in a positive manner. For information on the next Pet Expo the ASTCV will be attending please visit www.astcvic.com.


In addition to this the ASTCV is working closely with Dogs Victoria to resist these threats and to provide positive solutions to the issue of dog management in our communities.

 

What Can You Do About BSL?

The first blow any Amstaff lover can deal against BSL is to be a responsible and outstanding dog owner! The American Staffordshire Terrier is a fantastic dog, one that will bring you lots of joy throughout your time in the breed. However due to it’s close resemblance and ancestry to some restricted breeds, and its natural feisty terrier nature, the Amstaff requires an owner who is conscious of the current legislative climate and is willingly to go the extra mile to ensure their Amstaff is an outstanding canine citizen. This means having your Amstaff under effective control at all times and never allowing it to roam at large. Treat your dog and all others with the respect they deserve. Keeping your Amstaff free from any trouble is the first step to protecting this breed for generations to come.

To protect yourself, never buy an American Staffordshire Terrier that does not have pedigree papers issued by the Australian National Kennel Council. Due to our breed’s resemblance to some restricted breeds, an Amstaff without pedigree papers runs the risk of being mistaken for a restricted breed and at its worst this could lead to your beloved pet being confiscated by some councils

 

 

THE ASTC VIC HELP US STAND FOR THE BREED & I AM PROUD TO BE A MEMBER

 WE CAN HELP PROTECT OUR WONDERFUL BREED BY UNITING AS ONE & ALSO BY SENDING PERSONALISED LETTERS TO MEMBERS OF THE QLD PARLIAMENT.

BELOW IS A LETTER SENT TO ALL ASTC VIC MEMBERS IN 2010 FOR YOU TO READ

YOUR INPPUT CAN HELP & CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE !

 

 Remember that the American Staffordshire Terrier belongs to all of us and we all have a

 responsibility to ensure this breed is kept safe for many generations to come.

  

 

 

 

 

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Notice to Members regarding Breed Specific Legislation in April 2010

 

Dear Members,

As you may be aware, the Supreme Court of Queensland recently ruled that the American Staffordshire Terrier (Amstaff) and the American Pitbull Terrier (APBT) are to be considered the same breed of dog in QLD.  

This judgement is the result of a long running court case involving the misidentification of an unpapered Amstaff as an APBT by the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC). As the APBT is by law a restricted breed, the current context of this judgement allows councils in QLD to also declare the Amstaff a restricted breed in their municipality.

This court case, and the subsequent judgement, has created quite a stir across the country. Follow this link to see a report on the situation by A Current Affair - http://video.au.msn.com/watch/video/half-a-million-dollar-dog-fight/xbwn4sa

In handing down the judgement, the Honourable Justice Martin noted that “in this case there is unchallenged evidence as to the identity of the APBT and the Amstaff” and in saying so alluded to the fact that his judgement was made solely on the evidence of the Gold Coast City Council without response from the canine community.

While the result of the court case has set legal precedence in QLD allowing councils to consider Amstaffs a restricted breed, please be aware that this legal precedence currently applies in QLD only. In no other state, territory or municipality outside of QLD is the Amstaff considered a restricted breed. In Victoria there is no change in the legal status of the Amstaff.

Even though the current legal precedence set in QLD is not legally binding interstate, it does carry considerable weight. What is occurring in QLD will no doubt have an effect on other states. Therefore this development is a serious concern for all Amstaff owners and dog lovers in general.

What Is Being Done About The Situation?

A number of initiatives are currently underway in response to the court judgement and it's far reaching implications.

An appeal against the ruling has been granted on the grounds that the evidence presented by GCCC was incorrect and incomplete. Among other things, the appeal will present DNA evidence of a distinguishing genetic breed marker that separates the Amstaff from the APBT. The appeal will be heard within the next 30 days.

 Meanwhile, DOGS QLD (the peak body for pure bred dogs in QLD) met with the QLD Department of Local Government (DLG) regarding the issue. The QLD DLG has advised they are investigating the matter and are committed to finding a solution. DOGS QLD will have an opportunity to be involved in that process and are hopeful of a positive outcome. Please follow this link to see the latest media release from DOGS QLD - http://www.cccq.org.au/News.aspx?id=218.

The American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Victoria (ASTCV) has been actively involved in the situation. The ASTCV have contacted the GCCC and the QLD Minister for Local Government to express our concern at the situation and to advocate that the Amstaff should not be considered the same breed as the APBT and in no way should it be considered a danger to the community. We will be meeting with DOGS Victoria in the coming days to discuss the possible repercussion in Victoria resulting form this judgement and what can be done to ensure the breed remains safe here. DOGS Victoria have previously received undertakings from the Victorian Department of Primary Industry that the Amstaff will not be added to breed specific legislation in Victoria. Additionally the ASTCV have met with Genetic Technologies to discuss their BITSA test which they advise can genetically identify the Amstaff as a separate breed to the APBT.

What Can You do About The Situation?

The American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Queensland has launched a campaign to get as many Amstaff owners and dog lovers as possible to contact the QLD Department of Local Government and express their concern and opposition to the Amstaff being regarded as a restricted breed.

As the situation could potentially have serious effects in other states, it is important those of us outside QLD do our bit and have our say. Attached is a copy of the letter sent to the QLD DLG by the ASTCV, you can adapt and personalise this letter into your own letter to email, fax or mail to the QLD DLG and QLD Parliamentarians. Please remember you must personalise your letter to have any effect. It would be a good idea to add any pics of your family with your Amstaff etc, to show the real human face behind each Amstaff.

 

Please send your letters to the following:

 Desley Boyle

Minister For Local Government

Po Box 15031

City East QLD 4002

[email protected]

 

Mr Logan Timms

Senior Policy Officer

Strategic Policy and Legislation

Department of Local Government, Sport and Recreation

Po Box 10531

City East QLD 4002

[email protected]

 

Also please try to send your letter to every member of the QLD Parliament, it is important each and every one of them understands the implications of the current situation. A listing of each member’s contact details can be found here - http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/members/view/legislativeAssembly/documents/MEMLIST.pdf

If You Have Further Questions

If you have any further questions regarding the current situation please do not hesitate to contact myself on 0409 135 800. Also please visit astcvic.com and select the link labelled Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) to see our Club’s position on BSL.

CLICK HERE FOR LETTER TO QUEENSLAND DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FROM ASTCV Inc

 

 

 

 

 THIS HAS BEEN COPIED, WITH KIND PERMISSION,  FROM THE VICTORIAN AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE CLUB WEBSITE

 http://astcvic.com/club_home