John Bowler

John Bowler

Former Minister for Local Government; Employment Protection; Racing and Gaming; Goldfields-Esperance and Great Southern

    Attack reinforces need for dangerous dog ban

    9/06/2005 12:00 AM

    American pit bulls and other breeds of so-called ‘fighting dogs,’ may soon be banned under proposals before Local Government and Regional Development Minister John Bowler.

    Mr Bowler said the department was well advanced in drafting new proposals to breed the animals out.

    This week’s attack on an 18 month-old boy in Melville has reinforced his view that tough legislation introduced during the first term of the Gallop Government needs to be supplemented with further action.

    “I think the time has come to get rid of these dangerous breeds to fully protect the community,” the Minister said.

    “I have already had the department draft further legislative changes to breed the dangerous dogs out.”

    Under his proposal, dog owners would be prohibited from advertising the sale of restricted breeds, selling or giving them away. The dogs would also have to be sterilised.

    On Tuesday, Mr Bowler met with the Canine Association of Western Australia to discuss the proposals.

    “Following the vicious attack, I have sought an urgent briefing through the Department of Local Government and Regional Development,” he said.

    “My proposals were not precipitated by the attack earlier this week. The Federal Government has already banned the breeds from import and if they are not suitable to be imported, why then let them breed in Western Australia?”

    Mr Bowler said the South Australian and New South Wales Governments had moved to ban dangerous fighting dogs.

    Restricted breed dogs in WA were: Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, American pit bull terrier and pit bull terrier. The regulations also provided for the inclusion of a mixed breed dog that visibly contained one of the restricted dog ‘traits’.

    Currently in WA, owners of restricted breed dogs were required to:
    • muzzle the dogs at all times when in public;
    • confine them in an escape-proof, child-proof enclosure;
    • if not confined to an enclosure, the dogs must be muzzled and restrained on a lead;
    • place warning signs on the property where the dogs were kept; and
    • ensure the dogs wore a specified collar.
    Mr Bowler said under the current restricted breed dog regulations introduced in 2002, an authorised officer could seize and have a restricted breed animal destroyed.

    Any owner found to have breached the regulations faced a maximum penalty of $5,000.

    Minister's Office - 9213 6500