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What is the RSPCA's position on breed-specific legislation?

Article ID: 497
Last updated: 06 Oct, 2016
Revision: 9
Views: 17568

The RSPCA does not support breed specific legislation, also known as BSL. RSPCA Australia considers that any dog of any size, breed or mix of breeds may be dangerous and thus dogs should not be declared dangerous on the basis of breed or appearance. Each individual dog should be assessed based on their behaviour.

The RSPCA does not believe that BSL is in any way effective in preventing or reducing dog attacks or in protecting the public from dangerous dogs.

The RSPCA believes that a prevention strategy for dog attacks must contain the following key elements:

  • Registration and microchipping of all dogs: so that all dogs are traceable to their owners and that owners can be directly informed of their legal responsibilities.
  • Control of unrestrained and free-roaming animals: through the resourcing of local councils to enforce existing dog control provisions.
  • Provisions for the control of menacing dogs: measures are put in place to intervene early where a dog has exhibited repeated threatening behaviour but does not meet the definition of a dangerous dog.
  • Desexing of non-breeding dogs: male entire dogs are at greater risk of aggression and female entire dogs add to this risk by attracting entire males. Increased desexing rates can be achieved through desexing prior to sexual maturity, mandatory desexing prior to rehoming and breeder registration for entire dogs.
  • Education of the public, and particularly children, in dog behaviour and bite prevention.
  • Training of owners and dogs: training programs based on positive reinforcement techniques provide an opportunity to educate owners on responsible dog ownership, basic dog behaviour and the use of appropriate training techniques
  • Socialisation with people and other animals: unsocialised dogs are more likely to show aggressive behaviour; designated off-leash areas provide opportunities for safe socialisation.

For a full explanation of the RSPCA's position please read our Information Paper - Preventing dog attacks in the community at the link below.

This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person's unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Attached files
file Preventing dog attacks in the community - RSPCA Information Paper Nov 2015.pdf (346 kb)

Also read
document What is a dangerous dog?
document Is there legislation relating to the ownership of specific breeds of dog?
document How can we help to prevent dog attacks in the community?
document RSPCA Policy A08 Dog management

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