Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Queensland's BSL Strikes Again

In April of this year, a Queensland man lost a court fight in which his pedigreed American Staffordshire Terrier's life was on the line. Queensland authorities determined the dog was an American Pit Bull Terrier and, as such, should be dead. Pit Bull Terriers and several other breeds (but not ASTs) are banned in Queensland. The man who fought the court case invested thousands of dollars in overturning mis-identification of other people's dogs. Turns out Queensland authorities aren't that great at picking out the actual APBT.

Well, Queensland has struck again. Since May of this year, two dogs have been languishing in a shelter system as their owners fought for their right to live. These are two, friendly pets. They are not biters. They have never bitten anyone nor have they exhibited aggressive behaviors. As luck would have it, they are owned by a family who refuses to give up. In fact, while the father of the family is in Melbourne for work, the mother and children remain in Queensland until they get their dogs back.

While Gold Coast, Queensland authorities spend tax-payers dollars to care for the dogs and fight the case, the family went out and got DNA testing done.

Now, I don't believe canine DNA testing is highly accurate. It's in its infancy and is contingent upon the markers used and the breeds/diversity available. There is no genetic marker for American Pit Bull Terriers. And even if they were, it is unbelievably sad that DNA testing would be used to determine whether a dog lives or dies.

That said, the DNA test showed the two dogs in question are a Golden Retriever/Boston Terrier cross and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier/Boxer cross.The family submitted the reports to the council.

What's next? Well, no worries. /sarcasm. The council will get back to the family in two weeks. Geez louise. Here we have a case with two nonviolent dogs, a family who loves them, and a chance to get a couple friendly dogs OUT of Queensland, and the council's going to take two weeks to decide whether the DNA test is enough evidence to release the dogs? It's not the best evidence, but it isn't better or worse than using a 22-point visual identification process.

Like a scratched record you just have to break, BSL is a cracked, failed system of addressing canine aggression. It does not work. It never will work, not unless we develop a breed of dog who is toothless, nail-less and incapable of exhibiting aggressive behaviors. Until then, no matter how many breed restrictions we set forth, public safety will not improve, nice dogs will die, and millions of tax-payers money will be wasted. What a sinking ship.


Retrieverman said...

I'm having a hard time believing that the dog was a golden retriever/Boston terrier cross.

Jennie said...

"It never will work, not unless we develop a breed of dog who is toothless, nail-less and incapable of exhibiting aggressive behaviors."

Don't give them any ideas.

Unknown said...

Retrieverman, I have a hard time believing it too....

Jennie, you are so right, heh. What a sad world it would be if dogs didn't have teeth or nails or personalities! :)