Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has strongly supported new legislation that cracks down on dangerous and restricted dogs, including the American Pit Bull, in the aftermath of a shocking recent incident in which a young girl lost her life.
“This is a huge step in relation to getting rid of American Pit Bulls quicker than was anticipated and it is a move I whole heartedly back.
“It also coincides with the opening of a new telephone hotline (1300 101 080) that gives Victorians an easy mechanism to report dangerous dogs.
“This hotline will be manned from 8am until 6pm initially and response will determine operating hours, but I must stress this is not a hotline to report barking or nuisance dogs, it is to report dangerous dogs. It should also not be used in the case of an attack, in that instance dial 000.
“The legislation brings forward the amnesty to register restricted breeds to September 29 this year, meaning any dog identified as a Pit Bull not registered after that time can be seized and destroyed.
“Those individuals who have these dogs and want to keep them have until then to register them, have them de-sexed if they are not already, and then control them by the strict laws put in place. It is about making dog owners more responsible for their pets.
“While there are between 200-300 restricted dogs registered in the state, the reality is their numbers are in the high thousands. This Bill now means you have one month to register these dogs or face the threat of having them identified and destroyed.”
Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, said the changes will also close legal loopholes to ensure pit bull crosses become a restricted breed and a visual standard for identifying Pit Bull terriers will be gazetted to prevent some of these dogs escaping regulation because of uncertainty over their breed.
“This legislation is the first of several measures to get rid of restricted breeds altogether.
“People should not be in fear of a dog attack when they are walking down a street or their children are playing in their backyard.”
Mr Walsh said the dangerous dog hotline gave the community a way of reporting restricted breed dogs which they believed to be unregistered.
“The hotline is a dedicated number and details of calls will be recorded and passed on to councils to ensure they are alerted to reports of dangerous dogs,” Mr Walsh said.