Breeders question use of dog ban after failure in Netherlands

New Zealand should remove the American Pit Bull Terrier from dog control legislation after the Netherlands ended a ban on the breed because it did not work, dog breeders say.

A parliamentary select committee has been hearing submissions on the Dog Control Amendment Bill (No 2) which makes it mandatory for dogs classified as menacing, because they are of a certain breed or type, to be neutered.

The bill also simplifies the process for adding breeds or types to dog control legislation.

A schedule to the legislation lists breeds or types of dogs that may not be imported into New Zealand, and if already here are subject to muzzling when at large.

Last week the committee heard from several submitters who spoke against breed-specific legislation. Their arguments included that the main reason for aggression in dogs was the environment they were in, saying even a labrador in the wrong hands could bite.

They also argued the legislation would ban specific breeds without the research to back up whether the ban was justified.

Karen Batchelor, from the American Pit Bull Terrier Association, today wrote to Parliament's local government and environment select committee asking it to take into account what had happened in the Netherlands.

She wanted the committee to justify plans to list the American Pit Bull Terrier in the legislation, arguing the breed should be removed from the bill because of the failed experiment in the Netherlands.

The Dutch government said this week it would lift its long-standing ban on pitbulls because it did not lead to any decrease in bite incidents.

Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg informed its parliament of the decision, which followed the advice of a commission of experts appointed to review the policy.

Instead, the country will focus on enforcing local leashing laws and owner education programmes.

Dogs that displayed aggression would be tested by an expert, it has been reported.

The country banned the breeding and possession of pitbulls in 1993, after three children were killed by the dogs.

New Zealand's legislation followed a spate of dog attacks.

Ms Batchelor said that in light of the Dutch decision, the select committee should remove the American Pit Bull Terrier from New Zealand's legislation.

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