The Daily Dog wrote earlier this week on the madness of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), which is being used by Councils Australia-wide as a blunt instrument against owners of large dog breeds – especially bulldog-type breeds. Well, we’re pleased to report a rare win against BSL by the determined owners of “Rocket”, the Victorian Staffy X.
Rocket had been seized over 15 months ago by Cardinia Shire Council, and deemed to be a member of a “declared” breed – all because some Council Officer said so. As is always the case, the Council backed their Officer to the hilt, forcing Rocket’s owners to spend a small fortune on legal fees, fighting all the way to the Victorian Supreme Court. On Wednesday the Court released it’s verdict, ordering Rocket to be handed back to his relieved owners, the Kalamaras family.
The Council is now calling for changes to Victorian BSL legislation (of course), with the Victorian Premier weighing in with an ominous comment on how the law needs to be changed to “reverse the onus of proof” in such cases. What this means is dog owners will be “guilty until proven innocent” if such amendments come to pass. Should this happen and you’re walking your Staffy X (like “Rocket” for example) in Victoria and a dog-hating,latte-drinking leftie in a Koala suit** starts screaming “Pit Bull! Pit Bull!”, your dog can be seized and destroyed unless you, the dog owner, can prove the dog is not a member of a “restricted breed”. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars available to fight for your dog’s life in Court, your dog is as good as dead – charming, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter if your dog is a harmless cream-puff – he or she will be destroyed unless you can prove s/he is anot a member of a “declared” breed.
The answer – in the only language politicians seem to understand – is pressure and more pressure on your local MP to vote against BSL wherever and whenever it sticks its ugly head up. If the Politicians are interested, there are plenty of Canine Behavioural Experts who can categorically and scientifically show BSL is a failure in terms of reducing dog attacks in every jurisdiction where it has been introduced across the world. An individual dog, just like a person is and should always remain inoocent until proven guilty.
**Editor’s note: Apologies to latte drinkers & Koalas 😉