Banning dog breeds not effective: SPCA

By Christine McKay

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Laura Phillips, Dannevirke SPCA manager and inspector in training, believes banning certain breeds isn't the answer to preventing dog attacks.
Laura Phillips, Dannevirke SPCA manager and inspector in training, believes banning certain breeds isn't the answer to preventing dog attacks.

Despite a surge in reported dog attacks in New Zealand, the Dannevirke SPCA doesn't see the need to ban or restrict certain breeds.

"We don't support legislation banning or restricting certain dog breeds because evidence shows bans don't reduce dog attacks or make communities safer for people or animals," Laura Phillips, the Dannevirke SPCA manager and inspector in training, said.

"Our view, based on the available international scientific evidence, is that any dog may be dangerous and dogs shouldn't be declared dangerous or menacing on the basis of breed alone."

Laura said a number of countries which have instigated breed bans are now repealing them as they haven't been effective in reducing dog bites.

"Those countries include the Netherlands, Italy, Lower Saxony in Germany and 18 American states. In addition, the veterinary associations and SPCAs of New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and America do not support breed-specific legislation as it's ineffective and doesn't protect the public from dog attacks.

"Our national SPCA is calling for a nationwide proactive taskforce to address strategies to prevent the risk of dog bites. A key focus to address the multiple complex causes of dog bites is responsible dog ownership and public education."

Laura said the SPCA recognises dog attacks are a major social problem requiring a serious and effective long-term solution. "We don't know the true extent of the problem in New Zealand as there is no central register of dog bit statistics," she said. "However, there are approximately 10,000 dog bite claims to ACC each year. And with not all bites requiring medical attention, the total number of dog bites is likely to be higher than this."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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