The primary means of breed identification for non-pedigreed dogs and mixed-breed dogs is a visual glance and a guess. The dog may be compared with the breed standard for a breed; again, this is based on visual assessment. It is entirely subjective.

Domestic Animals Amendment (Restricted Breeds) Bill 2011 Passed

I’ve just returned home from Victorian Parliament where a new Bill has been rushed through both Houses without being included in the Notice papers.

The Domestic Animals Amendment (Restricted Breeds) Bill empowers the Minister to approve “standards” by which an Authorised Officer can declare your dog a Restricted Breed Dog.

One year ago tomorrow the Domestic Animals Act was updated to enable “a standard prescribed by regulations” to be used. What’s changed now is that the definition of what constitutes a ‘Pit Bull Terrier’ is at the whim of the Executive with no ability for the Parliament to reject changes.

As Greens Minister Greg Barber put it, the Minister could draw a stick figure of a dog, approve it and therefore enable rangers to seize and kill and dog that fits that description that was not in Victoria prior to 1 Sep 2010.

The opposition, while not opposing the Bill, pointed out that the Governor in Council could have provided an exemption from the requirement to produce a regulatory impact statement. This could have epedited the process without removing Parliamentary oversight.

“an approved standard”

The Minister was asked how we could trust that such a ‘standard’ would not result in innocent dogs being wrongly identified as ‘pit bull crosses’. If the standard is too broad it would end up including dogs with no ‘pit bull’ in them that share similar physical characteristics. This would have serious consequences given Councils would be required to kill many of these dogs.

Parliament was told that the approved standard would be reliable because it was created by a working group that consisted of:

* one ‘all breeds’ judge
* one Authorised Officer
* one Australian Veterinary Association Official

The Minister went on to say that,

“Following the 2010 legislative amendment the working party consisted of a veterinarian who previously participated in the then minister’s restricted dog breed panel and was on the executive of the Australian Veterinary Association.”

spoken by Hon. P. R. HALL - Hansard

He seemed very proud to be able to claim that not only was there a dog catcher and someone out of ‘best in show’, they had someone with relevant qualifications.

What’s Motivating This Vet?

The Australian Veterinary Association (along with RSPCA Vic) opposes Breed Discrimination. Why would an AVA Official assist in creating this ‘standard’? Is it the same AVA Official who presided over the Restricted Breed Review Panel that led to Ouzie being killed by Manningham Council? How can the AVA allow this?

Patricia Stewart presided over the Review Panel that led to Ouzie being killed.