Breed specific legislation (BSL) is viewed as one solution to preventing future attacks or dog bite incidents, or at least reducing their incidence.
The breeds banned are regarded as high risk breeds or breeds that have been bred specifically to enhance aggressive behaviours. Other factors such as the dog’s early experiences, its socialisation with humans, training, health, and the behaviour of the victim will all influence the dog’s behaviour.
The RSPCA does not support BSL. Our view, based on the available international scientific evidence, is that any dog may be dangerous and that dogs should not be declared as ‘dangerous’ on the basis of breed. The RSPCA does not believe that BSL is in any way effective in preventing or reducing dog attacks or in protecting the public from dangerous dogs.
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), along with the National Veterinary Associations of Britain, the United States and Canada have all recognised that breed specific approaches to dog breed regulations are not effective as they do not protect the general public from dog attacks.
For a full explanation of the RSPCA's position on BSL please visit the RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase.
Animal Welfare Alternatives
The RSPCA supports strategies to prevent the risk of aggressive dogs in the community and the risk of dog bites. A prevention strategy for dog attacks must contain the following key elements:
- All domestic dogs should be confined to the owners property or on a leash when out in public (unless being exercised in a designated off-leash park).
- Local animal management must include provisions for the control of menacing dogs. Such provisions should include close confined of a menacing dog and appropriate signage on properties housing a menacing dog.
- All dogs should be desexed except those that are specifically for breeding purposes.
- The public, and particularly children, must be made aware of how to behave around unfamiliar dogs and how to identify threatening behaviour in a dog.
- All dogs and their owners should attend dog training classes.
- All dogs must be socialised with people and other animals from an early age.