SPCA Response to the Government's Dog Nation Plan
SPCA Head Office Media Release - September 23 2016
SPCA has grave concerns about Government’s action plan to reduce dog bites
SPCA New Zealand is expressing its grave concerns about the Government’s action plan announced yesterday in an attempt to reduce dog bites.
The SPCA recognises that dog attacks are a major societal problem that requires a serious and effective long term solution.
However, we are absolutely appalled that part of the action includes tighter restrictions around certain breeds, including preventing them from being rehomed by animal shelters. This has been categorically proven to not reduce dog bites.
“The most worrying part of this new action plan is the restriction on animal shelters, like the SPCA, preventing us from re-homing these dogs. What is going to happen to all the dogs that are guilty of nothing else than their visual appearance?” says SPCA New Zealand CEO Andrea Midgen. “Essentially the Government is proposing to kill thousands of innocent dogs. The SPCA is completely opposed to this, and we plan to fight this with full force.”
The SPCA believes that each individual dog should be judged based on temperament and behaviour, not breed. This is why each dog re-homed by the SPCA undergoes health and behaviour assessments.
“The main problem with the new action plan from the Government is that it is not evidence-based or derived from research. Studies worldwide show that breed-specific legislation does not work. It does not reduce dog attacks or make communities safer for people or companion animals.” Many countries that have instigated breed bans are repealing them as they have not been effective in reducing dog bites. Examples of this include the Netherlands, Italy, parts of Germany, 18 American states and 231 American Municipal Governments. Just last week, the Australian state of Victoria announced it too would be repealing its breed-specific legislation.
The SPCA’s view, based on the available international scientific evidence, is that any dog may bite and that dogs should not be declared ‘menacing’ on the basis of visual appearance alone. We 100% support the Government’s strategic focus that all dog owners should be responsible and that public education is a vital component of this. “But the SPCA will absolutely not support this change. We will try to work with the Government to come up with a sensible solution to the issue of dog bites in our communities without thousands of innocent dogs unnecessarily losing their lives.”
SPCA New Zealand encourages all animal lovers to join our fight and sign the petition to save innocent lives at www.rnzspca.org.nz/save-innocent-lives