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Australian Vets Welcome Government Move on Restricted Dog Breeds

26 March 2015

AUSTRALIA - The parliament of Victoria has introduced a moratorium on the destruction of restricted breed dogs, a move welcomed by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA).

The ban will remain in place while an inquiry examines the effectiveness of strict legislation introduced by the previous government in 2013.

AVA Victorian President, Dr Paul Martin said: “Strict controls based on dangerous breeds can lead to innocent family pets being destroyed and is not the solution to managing dangerous dogs.

“Dogs should not be deemed dangerous based on subjective assessment of their physical appearance. We need to ensure the legislation in Victoria is about catching the right dogs in the interests of public safety.

“The truth is that any dog can be aggressive in certain circumstances. Focusing on the breed just gives us all a false sense of security.”

The inquiry will be established to investigate the current arrangements, benefits and challenges of legislation for restricted dog breeds, with a final report provided to the Parliament.

Evidence will be sought from dog attack victims, dog owners, breed experts and organisations such as the RSPCA and the AVA, to determine the best way of stopping attacks.

Dr Martin said: “One of the strategies we discuss in our report is for owners to have the option to have their dog undergo a temperament test by a veterinary behaviourist, if there’s a question mark over a dog’s safety in the community.

“Councils can then establish controls appropriate to the level of risk the dog poses, whatever breed it is.”

While the inquiry takes place, councils will be required to hold restricted breed dogs, rather than euthanising them.

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