An Update from the Antipodes on the Horror that is Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

There have been five deaths due to dog attacks in the history of New Zealand.

The first was a farmer killed by his working dog in 1969.

Following that, in 1997, a pig hunter died after being attacked by his hunting dog.  The three incidents since have involved Malamutes, a Mastiff and a couple of Staffy mixes.

Typically, as per BSL legislation around the world and after an attack involving another breed, our politicians singled out Pit Bulls, Dogos, Filas and Tosas as dangerous dogs and legislated accordingly, writes Karen Batchelor, Media Spokesperson/Registrar for TheAmerican Pit Bull Terrier Association Inc. (NZ)

No matter that we are a population of some 4.4m people keeping some 500,000 registered dogs today, with only five deaths in the colonized history of the country attributed to attacks by dogs, we have had Breed Specific Legislation inflicted upon us despite the science and anything remotely resembling common sense…or the fact that no deaths here have involved the slated breeds.

As a result, anything vaguely Pit Bull-shaped is automatically subject to classification as a menacing dog (along with the other four breeds including last year the addition of the Presas).
Any animals fitting the description according to a ‘checklist’ and finding themselves unclaimed in a council pound or SPCA is subject to a no-exception euthanasia policy. Temperament:  irrelevant.

That checklist (example: is full of errors, ignorance and misinformation. Yet this un-researched, inaccurate, misspelled, cut-and-pasted piece of plagiarism from some breed ‘standard’ is used to decide whether any medium sized, short coated, muscular dog with a boxy head lives or dies.

It is, of course, an outrage.

But it gets very much worse for New Zealand.

The face of the SPCA in this country, Bob Kerridge (CEO Auckland SPCA/National President RNZSPCA), is widely quoted in our mainstream media claiming that “all Pit Bulls are born bad” and advising our population not to take them into their homes.

Consequently, the breed is too often attractive only to those wanting them for all of the wrong reasons and subjected to the worst abuse and cruelty, and at the other end of the spectrum invariably passed over for adoption by a frightened and misled public.

The discussion with Drayton Michaels at Dog Star Daily gives a good back story along with some of our dismal kill rates:

The RNZSPCA infers their disagreement with killing dogs for having ‘the look’ but in fact for most SPCAs a red nose is enough even if the subject is just 4 weeks old.  Considering the number of breeds that express the ‘Dudley nose’ that is appalling.

SPCAs the length and breadth of this country refuse to take dogs of ‘the type’ into their facilities and local council pounds routinely euthanase them.

Having thoroughly researched the American Pit Bull Terrier Registry dating back to the first dogs imported into this country from the mid-eighties, i.e. some 30,000 genuine dogs with traceable bloodlines and countless cross breeds put on the ground since, and not one fatality attributed to the breed, we can fairly ask the question: how can Kerridge et al justify their actions?

In such positions of influence and power surely it behooves such people to justify their decisions and the consequent fallout for dogs who have done nothing other than to have a particular look about them, and subsequently lost and continue to lose their lives.

We would also ask: What sort of vet euthanases healthy dogs of sound temperament on the basis of such a widely discredited and unscientific policy?

Isn’t a vet’s sworn oath “First, do no harm”?

Therefore, we are calling them all to account.

The American Pit Bull Terrier Association Inc. (NZ) and SPCA Watch (NZ) have set up a petition and invite all Pit Bull lovers, look-alike owners and plain right-thinking people to support, sign and share our petition to shine the light upon this awful policy that is killing so many blameless dogs in New Zealand (many without a drop of Pit Bull blood in their veins) and those proponents of it who have some explaining to do!

Around the world, BSL has been proven to be an expensive, unscientific and ineffective approach to improving public safety. It’s way past time it was exposed and extinguished.

Please Sign The Petition:

Further Reading:

Pit Bulls: Facts, Myths & Media Hype


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