Dangerous Dogs

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Dangerous Dogs

Earlier this year ‘Burke’s Backyard’ ran a report on dangerous dogs which followed a spate of vicious dog attacks in Australia. Our program also provided a list of dogs suitable as family pets. Since then the Royal NSW Canine Council (representing all the pure breed clubs) has urged its members to give ‘serious consideration’ to being involved with ‘Burke’s Backyard’ in the preparation of Road Tests.

New research undertaken by the NSW state government supports ‘Burke’s Backyard’s’ stand on dangerous dogs. The government has now released a policy aimed at protecting people from dangerous dogs.

Statements from the RSPCA also agree with ‘Burke’s Backyard’s’ stand on the issue of dangerous dogs.

New research

The NSW government has released a policy to protect the public from dangerous dogs and to reduce the number of dog attacks in that state.

The policy states that anyone who owns a dog which has attacked more than once will be banned from keeping dogs for life.

The slogan ‘Two bites and you’re out’ reflects the attitude that it is the deed and not the breed of dog which makes a dog dangerous. In some cases this is true and owners need to be responsible for their animals.

There are certain cases where in fact it is the breed that is dangerous and owners need to be made aware of the risk that these dogs pose to the general public. One such breed is the American Pit Bull Terrier which has been bred specifically for fighting.

The NSW government’s policy on dangerous dogs extends beyond the deed and looks at specific dog breeds and suitable owners. For example American Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Fighting Dogs (Japanese Tosa), Argentinean Fighting Dogs and Brazilian Fighting Dogs have been labelled ‘prescribed’ breeds by the NSW government, because they are known to be dangerous.

The NSW government’s research also found certain breeds of dogs are more likely to bite people than others. These breeds are Australian Cattle Dog, German Shepherd, Bull Terrier types and Rottweiler. These results support the ‘Burke’s Backyard’ story earlier this year where the five breeds of dogs it was recommended to avoid were: Australian Cattle Dog; Bull Terrier; Doberman; German Shepherd; and Rottweiler. Our statistics showed that these breeds were responsible for 75% of dog bites in Australia. Despite these figures it is important to note that even so-called aggressive breeds can make great pets provided they have the right training and temperament.

RSPCA’s role

Problems with a dog frequently arise when the owner has been unaware of its size and characteristics. A typical scenario: Some people who live in a terrace decide to buy a Rottweiler puppy because it’s cute. Six months later they find they don’t have the space or the time to care for the dog, or perhaps the dog has bitten someone. End result: the dog is brought to the RSPCA.

The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Australia supports the education of potential dog owners about dog breeds. They wish dog owners to understand the temperament of a dog breed before it is purchased to avoid the ongoing problem of dogs being dumped or brought to the RSPCA.

In 1996-97 the RSPCA across Australia received more than 158,000 animals, including 69,956 dogs and 62,163 cats.

The RSPCA discourages the keeping of animals by those who do not have the facilities, time, financial means or level of interest necessary to ensure a satisfactory standard of care for their pets.

The number of animals taken in by the RSPCA is Australia has risen by 60% in the past four years.

The RSPCA tries to match dog breeds to dog owners.

The RSPCA looks to provide owners with information about dogs before they buy them to ensure that the owners are happier and the dogs are in a better home and so are happy and well looked after. The reality is that if you’ve got a big dog it’s likely to be more boisterous and harder to handle than a smaller breed.

The RSPCA believes dog breeders should be informing potential owners of the temperament and genetic makeup of the breed to make sure that the dogs will be happier and the owners will be happier and there will be less incidents of dog bites in Australia.

Further information

For more information contact the RSPCA in your state.

Dog Product

There is a new dog product available for rewarding your pets. It’s called Vet’s Best Reward and is made from dried liver. It has a flavour that dogs love and is great for a treat or rewarding and training your pet.

The product is only available from vet outlets and is supplied by Vet’s Best Products. It’s also a great Christmas gift idea for your favourite pet.

Cost and availability

Vet’s Best Reward costs around $7 for a 100g pack from your local vet. For more information write to Dr Marie Rowe, Vet’s Best Products, PO Box 410, Brookvale, NSW, 2100.