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Fighting dogs review commenced

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29 May 1991


The Federal Minister for Resources, Mr Alan Griffiths, today announced the commencement of a formal review of Government policy regarding the importation of pit bull terriers and similar fighting dogs into Australia.

Mr Griffiths said preliminary documentation gathered for the review indicated that pit bull terrier numbers in Australia were on the increase.

Mr Griffiths said 75 pit bull terrier imports had been recorded in Australia in the last five years and "almost certainly more than that figure have been imported here."

"There is a problem with the definition of the dog. It is quite possible that a number of dogs imported to Australia described as another breed are in fact American pit bull terriers," the Minister said.

"Without proper safeguards, human safety and even life is put at risk," the Minister said. - ■

"So far in Australia we seem to be lucky but the evidence at hand is that the luck cannot hold out.

"The recent spate of dog attacks in the United Kingdom point to the clear danger pit bull terriers and other categories of dogs bred specifically for fighting pose to the community.

"Despite the best intentions of responsible owners, this type of dog is not "man's best friend." It is bred for a specific purpose and that purpose is fighting."

Mr Griffiths said the pit bull terrier had been described as a "walking time bomb" by some dog breeder associations.

"Quite frankly, it is unacceptable to expose our community, particularly children, to dogs that are bred to fight and by definition, to kill," the Minister said.

"In these circumstances, I have asked the Government's. Primary Industries and Resources Committee to review Government policy in relation to these dogs and the committee has .agreed to my request."


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