Sunday Herald Sun August 28, 2011
THE RSPCA is adopting out potentially dangerous cross-bred dogs under friendlier names.
Animal welfare sources have told of up to 11 dogs up for adoption on the RSPCA website labelled “Staffordshire Terrier Cross” that display strong pit bull characteristics.
RSPCA Victoria president Hugh Wirth admitted the issue of classifying mix-breed animals under unrestricted dog types had been of concern to the organisation for a while.
Despite employing vets to weed out the dangerous breeds, pit bulls were difficult to identify without DNA testing, Mr Wirth said.
The admissions came after an unregistered pit bull cross mauled and killed four-year-old Ayen Chol in St Albans this month.
“There is only one type of Staffordshire terrier and that is an English one,” Dr Wirth said.
“They may look like a pit bull but you can’t be sure.”
Mixed breeds are not currently restricted under Victorian law.
Dog owners and breeders are fuelling the problem, often registering dogs with their local council as an unrestricted breed.
In the City of Greater Dandenong only three pit bulls are registered, yet there are 70 American Staffordshire terriers within the city.
One dog flagged by industry experts as a pit bull cross on the RSPCA adoption website was two-year-old Florence labelled as a Staffordshire Terrier cross that was recommended to a home without young children or other animals.
Lost Dogs Home managing director Graeme Smith said the practice was not rife but it needed to be looked at.
“We are seeing pit bull terrier types becoming prevalent in shelters so it is tricky, but we recognise what a pit bull terrier is and we are not going to change the name and sell it to somebody.”