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INTERNATIONAL DOG LAW UPDATE:
BSL is still with us!


BREED SPECIFIC Legislation is being fought on at three fronts as 2003 begins. Campaigners are stepping up their action around the world to tackle three new ’hotspots’ for BSL in Denmark, Italy and the State of New Jersey, USA, as well as continuing to target existing BSL areas in Australia, Germany, the USA, the UK and several other European countries.

The Danish Justice Department has a new proposed Dangerous Dog Law which will go into effect the 3. June 2003.

The new proposed dangerous dog law contains the following clauses:

1. A ban on dog fighting
2. That any breed of dog can become dangerous (Owner problem)
3. That the existing ban on the American Pit Bull Terrier & Tosa Inu remain in place.
4. The Amstaff, Dogo Argentino, Fila, and Neapolitan mastiff, will not be banned, as previously suggested.

Poul Poulsen, co-ordinator of the European Legislation Department of the Washington Animal Foundation told OUR DOGS:

"It is now up to the different organisations to criticise the newly proposed dangerous dog law. I was told by Joachim Kromann, the person behind the proposed law that the ban on the APBT and Tosa inu can still be lifted. It is the Danish Justice Department’s recommendation that the ban should be kept.

"I think that we have a good chance of lifting the ban on the American Pit Bull Terrier and Tosa Inu. We therefore need to keep the pressure on the Danish Justice Department, because if we succeed in Denmark it will have a good effect in Europe. There are various people that dog owners can contact to make their point that BSL does not work and to call for a lifting of the breed ban."

Poulsen points out that The Animal Council was appointed by the Danish Minister of Justice under section 26 of the Animal Welfare Act to provide counselling to the Minister, when required, in connection with the drafting of specific rules under the Animal Welfare Act.

The Council believes that banning certain dog breeds is not the way to go, However, they still recommended the justice department to keep the ban on the American Pit Bull Terrier and Tosa Inu, because it has apparently been shown to have had a good effect.

Poulson suggests that dog owners e-mail the Council’s Chief Veterinary Surgeon Svend Johansen and tell him that BSL does not work.

Email: jm@jm.dk . Insert ‘Veterinary Surgeon Svend Johansen’ in the subject line.

Poulson adds: "Also, the main person responsible for the new proposed dangerous dog law is Joachim Kromann, who works in the civil and police department in the Danish Justice Department. As he told me that the ban could be lifted, people should also e-mail him to point out that BSL does not work."

E-mail: jm@jm.dk and put Joachim Kromann in the subject line.

Minister of Justice Campaigners are also asked to email the Danish Minister of Justice (Lene Espersen) and tell her that BSL does not work. E-mail: kflees@folketinget.dk

Cesena, Italy

Giordano Conti, the mayor of the town of Cesena, Italy, has passed an ordinance banning the ownership, breeding, and sale of the following breeds within the city that he governs:
American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Cane Corso, Rottweiler, and ‘related crossbreeds’. In an interview, Mayor Conti defined these breeds as "particularly dangerous."

Poul Poulson of WAF has passed OUR DOGS an official list of biting incidents which proves that ‘Pit Bulls’ and the other so-called ‘dangerous breeds’ do not account for the majority of dog biting incidents in the town.

On file at the Cesena Police Department is the following list of bite incidents reported to the hospital of Cesena, broken into number of bites and the perpetrating breeds:

60 - Mixed breeds
7 - German Shepherd
2 - Dalmatian
1 - Maremma Shepherd
1 - Labrador
1 - Chihuahua
1 - Dobermann
1 - Pit Bull (scratches resulting from play)

The police themselves assert that the pit bull incident was NOT an attack, but a mild accident that occurred during play.

Dog owners are urged to e-mail Mayor Conti direct to express their view that BSL does not work. E-mail: conti_g@commune.cesena.fc.it

America

Meanwhile, in the USA, WAF’s main American body is gearing up for a legal battle within the State of New Jersey. WAF’s President Cynthia McCammon told OUR DOGS that a Bill (No. A2906) to introduce BSL into the state, proposed by Assemblyman Burzichelli and directly aimed at Rottweilers and Bull Breeds is not only unconstitutional, as was proved by WAF’s staggering legal victory in Alabama’s Supreme Court in 2002, but also that the Assemblyman’s campaign is being supported by an extremist animal rights organisation which believes in BSL as a means of eliminating a large number of ‘captive’ dogs.

"In our investigation we were told by Assemblyman Burzichelli's office that PETA is supporting the bill and the Assemblyman supports PETA's agenda," said McGammon, "It's now time for serious action. The Assemblyman and his co-sponsors are attempting amendments, then the media started running with Pit Bull attacks, WAF is investigating the death of the elderly lady in New Jersey claimed to have been killed by Pit Bulls. A2906 is unconstitutional and the way its drafted even with amendments it could target a very large number of breeds."

WAF believe that the following breeds could be under threat in New Jersey if the Bill is successful:

Neapolitan Mastiff (also called Italian Mastiff), Dogue de Bordeaux and larger Doguin de Bordeaux (French Mastiffs), Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian Mastiff), Dogo Argentina (Argentinian Mastiff), Presa Canario (Canary Island Dog)

Bulldogs (rarely used for guard work anymore because of structural changes in the breed including smaller size) English Bulldog , French Bulldog, Boxer, Alapahoola Blue Blood (Hog herding dog), American Bulldog (recreation of old style Bulldog for agility), Olde Bulldogge

(also a recreation of the old style bulldog for guarding work) Bull and Terrier Dogs Boston Terrier (very small), American (Pit) Bull Terrier (Registered by UKC), (English) Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, (American) Staffordshire Terrier (AKC), (English) Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei (Chinese Fighting Dog, became almost extinct when western fighting dogs entered China but brought back to popularity as a pet because of it's unusual wrinkled skin, Tosa Inu (Japanese Mastiff) Crosses of above (Swinford) Bandog (American Mastiff) cross between male American (Pit) Bull Terrier and female Neapolitan, Rottweiler and Rottweiler mixes.

McGammon continues: "A2906 is a bill that criminalizes responsible dog owners and is an attempt to exterminate specific breeds from New Jersey. It's intent is the agenda of PETA and it must be stopped.

*This is a letter WAF has sent out to New Jersey, we suggest everyone flood the leadership of the Democratic and Republican Party with whatever information can be provided.

January 6, 2003

To New Jersey Senators and Assemblymen:

With this letter is a letter that was sent to Assemblyman Burzichelli. He is the sponsor of A2906, a bill which discriminates against certain breeds of dogs and their owners. On December 20, 2002 the Assemblyman’s office staff made our foundation aware that the support for the bill is coming from PETA. The claim is American Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweilers are responsible for biting, attacking and killing more than other breeds, this information is incorrect. PETA is under federal investigation and it would appear Assemblyman Burzichelli supports the agenda of PETA.

Eleven US states prohibit breed specific legislation and where it has been passed it is being repealed or had been repealed either through court action or legislation.

The Washington Animal Foundation is a Seattle based international non-profit corporation that advocates for responsible dog ownership and regulation and control of dangerous dogs.

We have drafted dangerous dog legislation for the US Government to be used on military installations in place of breed specific legislation. In 2001 we drafted Louisiana'sstate dangerous dog law under crime and punishment for dangerous dogs in place of breed specific legislation. We have worked with legislators in the US and Europe to stop ownership of dangerous dogs drafting effective legislation. In 2002 in a case heard in the Alabama Supreme Court we proved American Pit Bull Terriers are not genetically dangerous. We support laws that focus on irresponsible dog ownership that are enforceable and constitutional. A2906 violates responsible dog owners rights: It violates Substansive Due Process, the arguments posed to support breed specific legislation claim American Pit Bull Terriers are dangerous and the number of reported deaths and attacks are used laying blame the to the American Pit Bull Terrier. There is no scientific proof any breed of dog is genetically dangerous and the statistic's on dog bite's and human fatalities are false that have been used to support breed specific legislation. There has never been scientific evidence to prove the American Pit Bull Terrier is genetically dangerous. (Shelia Tack v Huntsville) (Zuniga v San Mateo Department of Health Services) (EBA v Acadia Parish)
(Carter v, Metro North Associates)

A2906 violates Equal Protection because there is no scientific proof that the breeds named in A2906 are inherently more dangerous than any other breed.

Procedural Due process is violated because the legislation is vague, there are over 25 breeds than can be mistaken for the American Pit Bull Terrier and in Rowe v. Cincinatti and other cases this has been proven.

A2906 violates Federal Legislation under the AWA. Hobby breeders are exempt from kennel license fees and there are countless hobby breeders in New Jersey.

This legislation is a violation of the New Jersey and US Constitution, it is excessive and one of the worst attempts to regulate and control dangerous dogs in US History. There is no legal ground for this type of legislation. Nobody can comply this legislation, it's going to put responsible dog owners in jeopardy of criminal charges. It's making criminals out of responsible dog owners. You will create crime and you will cause your state financial burden with legislation that is not enforceable. There is legislation that can be passed that will stop ownership of all breeds of dogs by irresponsible owners and those who treat and abuse animals in a cruel way.

We strongly suggest you vote no on A2906

Sincerely,
Cynthia McGammon
President WAF