AT just 11 months old, Jen Adams’ American Staffordshire terrier Harley is already a big, powerful dog.
She says he is also impeccably trained, obedient and extremely affectionate.
The Ballajura resident fears proposed changes to the WA Dog Act, now before State Parliament, will result in dogs that look powerful and intimidating, like Harley, being targeted by council rangers.
If passed, the new laws will give local councils increased powers to declare a dog dangerous, which would enable it to be subject to the same, stricter conditions as restricted breeds.
“Harley has been trained and it’s the training of a dog that is far more important than the breed,” Mrs Adams said.
She has been campaigning against breed-specific legislation (BSL), which she said evidence showed did not work.
“In Canada they went with BSL for some time; they found it wasn’t working and since abolishing BSL and putting the responsibility back on the owners, attacks have reduced by 80 per cent,” she said.
“In Victoria, dogs have been impounded for what they look like, regardless of the nature or behaviour of the dog. I would hate to see the same thing happen in Western Australia.”
Mrs Adams said she believed puppy mills and backyard breeders contributed to the problem.
Training for all dogs, regardless of size or breed, should be a compulsory part of dog ownership.
“Proper breeders control the bloodlines and therefore the temperament,” she said.
Byford resident Ashleigh Leece has started an online petition to end BSL in WA, and Mrs Adams urges all passionate dog owners to support the petition, which now has 2618 signatures.
Ms Leece can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.