Photo: Aron Lewin.
Taking part in a peaceful protest, hundreds of Victorians marched to the steps of parliament and demanded an end to breed specific legislation (BSL).
Aiming to eradicate dangerous dog breeds, BSL gives local councils the jurisdiction to seize, impound and euthanise dogs considered to menacing or dangerous.
American pit bull terriers have been targeted by the legislation – being placed on the ‘dangerous dog list’ due to the breed’s notorious reputation of being overtly aggressive.
However, individuals deeming the law to be discriminatory and excessively callous streamed through the city streets, chanting that BSL is “a disgrace to our nation”.
A dog judge for 18 years, Dr David Lowe contends that the notion of pit bull terriers as inherently aggressive is an urban myth.
“Any dog can be aggressive. I’ve seen countless pure bred pit bull terriers in America and they are some of the best behaved dogs … all dogs regardless of breed are a by product of their upbringing”.
“ The government is dealing with the wrong end of the lead. They’re dealing with the dog end of the lead, they’ve got to deal with the human end,” Mr Lowe said.
Representing the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel, Anastasia Smietanka spoke to the animated crowd about how BSL is not based on empirical evidence.
“BSL is not based on any evidence … BSL does not work”
“The laws are based on the fact that visual identification of breeds work, and it just doesn’t. Studies in the US and the UK have shown that visual identification of dogs is incorrect time and time again,” Mrs Smietanka said.
While the crowd was amiable, they were not receptive to Victorian Premier Denis Napthine or the honourable Peter Walsh. Any mention of either name consequently resulted in boos from the protesters, due to their support for BSL.
It has been reported that the next Victorian anti-BSL rally will be held on July 19, 2014.