Breed specific legislation [BSL] is no answer to this apparent and ill-defined problem. BSL comes about from asking the wrong question. If a 'pit-bull' (insert dog of the moment) caused a problem, then (why not) ban them. Problem solved. The 'here and now' problem is best addressed by asking 'has what we are doing solved the problem or are we getting increased incidences?'. The research and thus 'answer' is instructive. The problem is, that research has not been carried out. Despite collecting tens of millions in dog fees no concrete research budget for social policy formulation is currently allocated. This is socially irresponsible. It is also poor administration and leads to the policy by panic to largely satiate the public thirst for simple and populist solutions.
We must commence any inquiry from first principles... What "do" we know? And a good place to start might be to first acknowledge that (1) Dogs provide a valuable role in society and (2) 600,000 dogs in New Zealand never bit anyone today.
That is why I asked Local Government Minister Hon Rodney Hide to consider an appropriate research budget at the New Zealand Companion Animal Conference in Auckland last year. There cannot be any good management without good measure.
To fail to do the hard stuff, we will be left to have policy made up on the fly as touted by those puppy-killing Invercargill City administrators and the balance of 'noisy' local government grifters who utterly depend on dog fees for their jobs.
As a both handler/trainer (http://nakeddog.co.nz) and social policy wonk, it has been my experience that the higher we build our fences and the shorter we keep dogs on lead the more we generate the very problem we set out to solve. As few as one in five dogs in New Zealand get their required daily walk (Massey, Palmerston North).
And we thought micro-chipping was going to help?
I would commend those 'tough on pit-bull' folk to consider this issue carefully. If they wish to get some good advice from a man with experience in such issues, World renowned behaviour expert and vet, Dr Ian Dunbar (http://dogstar.doglinks.co.nz) is addressing canine 'aggression' during his visit to Auckland and Christchurch this month.
One can only hope that he will attract the media attention that pit-bulls do.
Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›