AN American-based dog victims group has hailed Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws as "a hero" for his response to pitbull owners.
DogsBite.org, a public education website about dangerous dogs, praised Mr Laws' unwillingness to be cowed by floods of emails questioning his position.
Founder and President Colleen Lynn told Mr Laws she knew how rotten the pro-pitbull lobby could be.
"You are a hero to many people in the United States for standing up to the pitbull lobby," she wrote in an email.
She said pitbull owners were insane, often criminals, and deliberately spammed city councils and mayors across the US to scare them into dropping pitbull regulation laws.
DogsBite.org advocates a complete pitbull ban, and the criminalisation of breeding.
It also supports mandatory spaying and neutering, identification and liability insurance, and banning felons from owning the breed.
Mr Laws attracted controversy when he suggested all pitbulls be put down after a pitbull attack left a Wanganui woman in hospital with severe arm injuries.
His statement prompted more than 20 critical emails from the US, which he described as a "co-ordinated attack from a pro-pitbull lobby".
One woman said she would not visit Wanganui on an upcoming New Zealand trip because of the comments.
Mr Laws laughed when he received the email from DogsBite.org.
"I understand they're a powerful little lobby group," he said.
"It can't be bad for Wanganui tourism."
He also received support from a former Wanganui resident living in Illinois, USA.
"Pity the people who have been sending you negative emails from here didn't use their energy on something in their own backyard rather than shooting their mouths off about something on the other side of the world," Kim Schriefer wrote.
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