- Editorial ; From:Herald Sun ; July 21, 2012
LAWS condemning pit bull and pit bull-crosses have come rushing back to bite the Baillieu Government.
The Government must therefore redraft what is difficult, but necessary, legislation.
No one can argue against the need to safeguard the public from dangerous dogs, such as the pit bull-cross that killed four-year-old Ayen Chol last year.
The dog ran into the family home and mauled the girl in front of her horrified mother. The attack followed other incidents involving pit bull and pit bull-crosses, but the same problem that prevented such dogs from being put down then is again preventing successful prosecutions against their owners.
When is a pit bull a pit bull? Owners argued their dogs were more cross than pit bull, and attempts to set new standards to identify the dogs are failing.
Dog owners, are often incensed at the actions of council inspectors who have seized dogs they suspect of being pit bulls.
The owners have argued successfully at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to save them.
Some vets, unwilling to destroy healthy dogs, are refusing to carry out council orders.
Restricted breed laws have seen some 150 dogs put down, with perhaps 20 still on council pound “death rows”.
Owners argue it should be “the deed of the dog, not the breed of the dog” that determines their fate.
This is the sort of emotional language that inevitably surrounds cases involving a much-loved family pet, a dog used for hunting or one kept because its owners like fierce and intimidating dogs.
The flaw in the deed-versus-breed argument is that someone has to be savaged or threatened by a dog in front of witnesses before authorities can act. The Government needs to jerk their leash. Tighten the law and get rid of dogs that in rare cases kill, but often maim. There is no moral argument for keeping them.