13 Feb 2010

Pitbull ban won't work, SPCA and Kennel Club

7:18 pm on 13 February 2010

The SPCA and the New Zealand Kennel Club both say banning pitbull- type dogs in New Zealand to prevent further attacks is unlikely to work.

Kennel Club president John Perfect says the American pitbull terrier is already banned from being developed and promoted in New Zealand.

He says there is too much generalisation about the pitbull-type dog, which can be a mixture of a number of breeds. Many of the crossbred dogs that would fall into this category have none of the negative traits associated with pitbulls, he says.

The mayor of Hastings, Lawrence Yule, is calling for pitbulls to be banned, saying there have been too many attacks by them over the years.

But Mr Perfect says the Kennel Club is concerned about the bad exposure dogs are getting in relation to recent dog attacks.

He thinks it is a generalisation that pitbull-type dogs are the major culprit and says the Kennel Club believes in registration of owners rather than dogs.

Mr Yule is calling for all pitbull terriers to be banned from New Zealand. He says the dogs are ticking time-bombs, and one day a child is going to be killed by one.

Call for ban impractical - SPCA

The SPCA says calls to ban pitbulls from New Zealand are not practical.

Its national chief executive Robyn Kippenberger says there is no definitive DNA test for a pitbull and they are now too widely spread throughout the dog gene pool to remove them.

Ms Kippenberger says the dogs are not the problem.

"It really isn't the breed, it's the owner. Alsations and numerous other breeds - rottweilers - have all been demonised over the years.

"Pitbull and pitbull types at the moment happen to be the dog of choice for people who fight and hunt with dogs and that's what makes them vicious and difficult."

Ms Kippenberger believes education and penalising owners is a better solution.

Eliminate breed - Yule

Mr Yule says he's seen too many pitbull terrier attacks over the years, including one on a three-year-old girl in his area last month, and it's now time to bring the breed under control.

The mayor, who is also the current president of Local Government New Zealand, has a plan to reduce and ultimately eliminate the breed's population.

  • Step one: reclassify pitbulls from menacing to dangerous, which means they would have to be neutered, muzzled and caged.
  • Step two: bring in a law to immediately destroy pitbulls that are involved in any attack or found roaming the streets.
  • Step three: eliminate pitbulls from New Zealand altogether.

Mr Yule concedes that step three is the hard part, and admits he doesn't know how the country would become pitbull-free.

He will discuss his plan with the Prime Minister John Key, who's visiting Hawke's Bay next week.