Dear Members & Friends, A reminder that changes to Victorian Restricted Breed Dog legislation come into effect tomorrow September 30 2011. Please ensure you have copies of your Amstaffs ANKC pedigree papers available and/or forward them to your council so they have them on file. If your dog does not have ANKC pedigree papers or is of another unrestricted breed that may possibly fall under the Standard as outlined in the legislation, it is vital that your dog is registered with your local council by close of business today or it is at risk of being seized and possibly destroyed. Further, a signed declaration from a vet stating that your dog is not of restricted breed is the only way you can be certain that your dog will not be declared restricted. If you have any questions or concerns about complying with the legislation, feel free to contact Lincoln Hancock on 0409 135 800 .What Is Breed Specific Legislation?
BSL and the American Staffordshire Terrier
What Can You Do About BSL?
Remember that the American Staffordshire Terrier belongs to all of us and we all have a responsibility to ensure this breed is kept safe for many generations to come.
Notice to Members regarding Breed Specific Legislation in April 2010
As you may be aware, the Supreme Court of Queensland recently ruled that the American Staffordshire Terrier (Amstaff) and the American Pitbull Terrier (APBT) are to be considered the same breed of dog in QLD.
This judgement is the result of a long running court case involving the misidentification of an unpapered Amstaff as an APBT by the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC). As the APBT is by law a restricted breed, the current context of this judgement allows councils in QLD to also declare the Amstaff a restricted breed in their municipality.
This court case, and the subsequent judgement, has created quite a stir across the country. Follow this link to see a report on the situation by A Current Affair - http://video.au.msn.com/watch/video/half-a-million-dollar-dog-fight/xbwn4sa
In handing down the judgement, the Honourable Justice Martin noted that “in this case there is unchallenged evidence as to the identity of the APBT and the Amstaff” and in saying so alluded to the fact that his judgement was made solely on the evidence of the Gold Coast City Council without response from the canine community.
While the result of the court case has set legal precedence in QLD allowing councils to consider Amstaffs a restricted breed, please be aware that this legal precedence currently applies in QLD only. In no other state, territory or municipality outside of QLD is the Amstaff considered a restricted breed. In Victoria there is no change in the legal status of the Amstaff.
Even though the current legal precedence set in QLD is not legally binding interstate, it does carry considerable weight. What is occurring in QLD will no doubt have an effect on other states. Therefore this development is a serious concern for all Amstaff owners and dog lovers in general.
What Is Being Done About The Situation?
A number of initiatives are currently underway in response to the court judgement and it's far reaching implications.
An appeal against the ruling has been granted on the grounds that the evidence presented by GCCC was incorrect and incomplete. Among other things, the appeal will present DNA evidence of a distinguishing genetic breed marker that separates the Amstaff from the APBT. The appeal will be heard within the next 30 days.
Meanwhile, DOGS QLD (the peak body for pure bred dogs in QLD) met with the QLD Department of Local Government (DLG) regarding the issue. The QLD DLG has advised they are investigating the matter and are committed to finding a solution. DOGS QLD will have an opportunity to be involved in that process and are hopeful of a positive outcome. Please follow this link to see the latest media release from DOGS QLD - http://www.cccq.org.au/News.aspx?id=218.
The American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Victoria (ASTCV) has been actively involved in the situation. The ASTCV have contacted the GCCC and the QLD Minister for Local Government to express our concern at the situation and to advocate that the Amstaff should not be considered the same breed as the APBT and in no way should it be considered a danger to the community. We will be meeting with DOGS Victoria in the coming days to discuss the possible repercussion in Victoria resulting form this judgement and what can be done to ensure the breed remains safe here. DOGS Victoria have previously received undertakings from the Victorian Department of Primary Industry that the Amstaff will not be added to breed specific legislation in Victoria. Additionally the ASTCV have met with Genetic Technologies to discuss their BITSA test which they advise can genetically identify the Amstaff as a separate breed to the APBT.
What Can You do About The Situation?
The American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Queensland has launched a campaign to get as many Amstaff owners and dog lovers as possible to contact the QLD Department of Local Government and express their concern and opposition to the Amstaff being regarded as a restricted breed.
As the situation could potentially have serious effects in other states, it is important those of us outside QLD do our bit and have our say. Attached is a copy of the letter sent to the QLD DLG by the ASTCV, you can adapt and personalise this letter into your own letter to email, fax or mail to the QLD DLG and QLD Parliamentarians. Please remember you must personalise your letter to have any effect. It would be a good idea to add any pics of your family with your Amstaff etc, to show the real human face behind each Amstaff.
Please send your letters to the following:
Minister For Local Government
Po Box 15031
City East QLD 4002
Mr Logan Timms
Senior Policy Officer
Strategic Policy and Legislation
Department of Local Government, Sport and Recreation
Po Box 10531
City East QLD 4002
Also please try to send your letter to every member of the QLD Parliament, it is important each and every one of them understands the implications of the current situation. A listing of each member’s contact details can be found here - http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/members/view/legislativeAssembly/documents/MEMLIST.pdf
If You Have Further Questions
If you have any further questions regarding the current situation please do not hesitate to contact myself on 0409 135 800. Also please visit astcvic.com and select the link labelled Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) to see our Club’s position on BSL.