#Animal Welfare
The Hon. Donald Page, MP, Minister for Local Government

The recent death of a two year old after being mauled by a dog in NSW has highlighted the need for better education and regulations about responsible dog ownership. In Australia, various states have brought in Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). This legislation targets dogs based on their looks, rather than their temperament.

Various forms of BSL have been tried in other countries. There has been no corresponding decrease in dog attacks. In fact, Italy and the Netherlands, as well as various states in the U.S. and Canada have now repealed the law as it did not work.

The only place that has successfully reduced dog attacks is Calgary in Canada. Aggressive dog complaints have gone from 1,938 in 1985 to 374 in 2007 (aggressive dog complaints include chases and damage to property as well as bites) while the reported bites fell from 621 to 199 during the same time frame. This is despite the facts that Calgary experienced a population growth in that time and that it actively takes in pit bull type dogs from other areas where they are banned under BSL.

Calgary has achieved this through education programs and through targeting irresponsible dog owners. This places the blame where it belongs - on the owners who do not properly train or socialise their dogs, rather than on one type of dog.

BSL fails because it fails to recognise the role of the owner in dog attacks. It fails because it is impossible to tell a dog's breed or temperament based on its looks. Both the Australian Veterinary Association and the RSPCA have stated that they do not support BSL because it does not work to reduce dog bites.

BSL is costly to implement, kills innocent dogs and causes untold heartache and grief for families.

We all want a reduction in dog attacks - educating people on how to interact with dogs and punishing irresponsible owners is the only way that has been proven to do so.

We, the undersigned, call on the Hon. Donald Page, to implement legislation and education programs based on those implemented in Calgary, Canada.

The 'Calgary Model' has been proven to reduce dog attacks. The world is watching New South Wales - be a leader.

Study what has worked and take steps to protect our communities.

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The Implement the 'Calgary Model' in NSW to reduce dog attacks petition to The Hon. Donald Page, MP, Minister for Local Government was written by Australians for Responsible Dog Ownership and is in the category Animal Welfare at GoPetition.