News & Press: NZVA media release

Breed laws don't work

Thursday, 22 September 2016  
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Dangerous dogs are a complex animal, human and environmental societal problem. These dogs kill and injure the people we care about. We all want this issue addressed.

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution, as part of the dog control plan.

However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work, and is counter to moves being made in other countries.

“To target specific breeds or types as dangerous or aggressive is a gross oversimplification,” said Rochelle Ferguson, Companion Animal Veterinarian spokeswoman for NZVA. “Any dog can be made aggressive by an owner, so managing only certain types or breeds promotes a false sense of security,” she adds.

NZVA supports the government’s focus on this issue and its emphasis on public education, neutering programmes, and best practice guidelines for councils. However it must include a classification system based on dog behaviour – not breed.

And ultimately an acceptance that the responsibility to control and improve the dangerous dog situation lies on the other end of the leash…in the hands of the owners.