Ban the Deed...Not the Breed
Ban the Deed...Not the Breed

What is Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)?

Rotty and Friends

BSL is any legislation that targets a breed of dog, based on the actions of a few members of that breed (or suspected crosses).

This may range from automatically declaring an entire breed "dangerous" and placing restrictions on their ownership, up to current proposals to ban entire breeds and completely eradicate them from our society.

BSL does not consider the individual dog, its past actions and behaviour, or even the way the dog has been raised and treated by its owner. Just being of the "wrong" breed is all it takes - the dog is assumed to be guilty until proven innocent!

Every dog has the potential to bite - regardless of breed. It is up to us, as responsible owners, to raise our dogs correctly, so they can become valuable members of our community.

Your Breed Could Be Next!

It may not be your breed under threat today, but if banning of breeds under BSL takes hold then your breed is certainly at risk.

Banning a handful of breeds on the notion that they are "dangerous" will not stop dog attacks, and does nothing to address responsible dog ownership. Rather, the removal of one breed from society will simply turn the spotlight onto others. Once started, where will the banning stop?

Lounging Around

Education is the Key

Basking in the Sun

Australia is not the first country to consider banning entire breeds of dogs - but Australia is ignoring the results in other countries, where the introduction of BSL has failed to achieve any significant decrease in dog attacks.

Rather than banning entire breeds, education has proven to be the key to success in other countries - in one case resulting in the reduction of dog attacks by almost 50% in just 2 years!

It is time dog owners were put in the spotlight - dog owners must be educated on responsible dog ownership, and held accountable for the actions of their dog.

AVA Calls for Urgent Injection of Funds to Implement Animal Control Legislation

AVA - Media Release, Tuesday 3rd May 2005

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is today urging State and Local Governments Australia-wide to find adequate resources in order to effectively implement legislation for control of dangerous dogs.

In response to a spate of recent dog attacks, Dr Norm Blackman, National President of the AVA says State Governments already have a good legislative framework for managing the problem of dangerous dogs but Local Governments are unable to properly implement it.

"In NSW where the latest incidents have occurred, the legislation is excellent but the capacity of Local Governments to manage it is the main problem," says Dr Blackman.

"While there are occasional incidents of dog attacks involving a dog that is normally well behaved and which has a responsible owner, the vast majority of serious dog attacks involve irresponsible behaviour on the part of the owner resulting in a situation where a potentially dangerous dog actually attacks someone."

"We believe that with better enforcement and owner education most of these attacks will be prevented," says Dr Blackman.

Dr Blackman also says that following dog attacks media interest invariably focuses on individual dog breeds such as the Pit Bull rather than the deed itself and the result is pressure on Government to ban certain dog breeds. Australia banned the importation of 4 breeds including the American Pit Bull Terrier over 12 years ago and this has had no apparent effect on decreasing the number of dog attacks.

"Such bans occurred in several countries, including the UK, about 15 or so years ago and the incidence and severity of dog attacks in those countries has not changed," says Dr Blackman.

"This shows that other breeds and crossbreeds of dogs have obviously taken their place and banning breeds considered dangerous does not work."

"It merely highlights the fact that irresponsible ownership of any large dog is much more likely to be the causative factor for most serious dog attacks."

"Sadly Governments that are banning breeds are merely taking the politically easy option of wanting to be seen by the public to be doing something but failing to provide a solution that addresses the underlying problem," says Dr Blackman.

An Open Letter from Mr Keith Irwin (President Of RNSWCC Ltd) to the Premier of NSW, Mr Bob Carr

Dear Premier


As long as I draw breath, I will fight you on the issue of Breed Specific Legislation. My organization, The Royal NSW Canine Council Ltd, and all of its members are bitterly opposed to this kind of legislation. I
believe that what you are proposing to do will in fact see the introduction of Breed Specific Discrimination (BSD) in our State.

In my opinion, you are planning to take action against "specific breeds" of "Man's Best Friend" for the wrong reasons. It is the reckless and unthinking dog owners in our community that do not do the right thing by their dogs that should, and must, accept responsibility for their dogs actions. It is those owners that do not provide their dog with training and socialization (both with humans and other dogs) and also in most cases raise them without including the dog as an integral part of caring and loving environments which are the main cause of rogue dogs that bite and attack.

Clearly this is not the fault of the dogs involved let alone a whole breed of "Man's Best Friend". To introduce the legislation you plan to is down right un-Australian. We believe strongly in "Punishing the Deed not the Breed" and that your State Government must introduce educational programs that include promoting responsible dog ownership in all our schools as a matter of urgency.

Everyone, including all the members of the RNSWCC, is appalled and horrified by the type of dog attacks recently reported in the press and our hearts and best wishes go out to those involved.

We do not recognize the Brazilian and Argentinean fighting dogs, Japanese Tosa, the Pit Bull or the American Pit Bull as pure breed dogs and their owners and breeders are certainly not members of this
organization. The Federal Government has banned the importation of these dogs for twelve years.

We are the controlling body of pedigree dog breeding in this State and my members are committed to our organisation's Code of Ethics. We breed dogs for sound temperament and then breed-type. The Australian
National Kennel Council, of which we are a member, recognizes over 185 separate breeds of dogs, many of which can trace their ancestry back many hundreds of years.

Dog fighting, bull baiting and all other blood sports involving dogs used to kill or maim were outlawed in England over 100 years ago and since that time, responsible breeders both in England and Australia have bred sound family dogs that make wonderful family pets.

Any attempt to apply the proposed legislation to any one of the breeds that we recognize will be strongly resisted. We will unite every dog owning citizen of this State in defence of "Man's Best Friend". Well may
your advisors take heart in the percentage of voters (80%) who support the banning of the five breeds mentioned earlier. However, two in every three families in this State own a variety of "Man's Best Friend", particularly pure bred, and if you endanger that relationship, watch how the citizens of this State react.

This organization does not support Breed Specific Discrimination and most strongly recommends to you that you reconsider the proposed introduction of Breed Specific Legislation. Instead, we urge you to "Punish the Deed and not the Breed" and immediately commence the funding of educational activities.

This organization and its 12,500 members, and its 365 affiliated clubs with over 60,000 members stand ready to assist you in your efforts to reduce dog attacks.

All we ask is to be consulted and included in any discussion prior to any development and introduction of new legislation.

Yours sincerely

Keith Irwin JP ECC AIMM

Want More Information?

The following sites all contain valuable information if you would like to learn more about BSL.

The Endangered Dog Breeds Association of Australia -

Endangered Breeds Association -

Report to the NSW Department of Local Government on Breed Specific Legislation Issues Relating to Control of Dangerous Dogs prepared by Dr. Kirsti Seksel, July 2002 - -

Aussies Against The Breed Specific Legislation - - the serious side of Breed Specific Legislation -

Ban the Deed...Not the Breed
Ban the Deed...Not the Breed
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Staffy "Flyball" photo by Cheryl Ridge
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