The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs has now completed its final report on "The Survey of Territorial Authorities on Dog Control Issues", and it is now available on their website www.dia.govt.nz writes David Levy.
This was the report that at its interim stage - at the height of the media furore over dog attacks in New Zealand, highlighted the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as the breed most associated with dog attacks in that country.
Having reviewed the evidence in the light of scientific advice from around the World including the BVA in the UK, a closer examination of the statistics has resulted in a far more accurate picture being drawn.
It is interesting to note that on page 10 of the final report it is now stated that "When councils identified a single breed of dog..." the Staffordshire Bull Terrier drops off the summary list altogether. i.e. The NZ Government's own statisticians now accept that the reports of attacks by dogs substantially (80%) involved cross-breeds rather than pure bred dogs at all. The Stafford has moved from "public enemy number one" to virtually "unplaced".
Whilst in itself this cannot guarantee that Chris Carter (Minister for Internal Affairs) and his colleagues will not yet introduce breed specific laws, might indeed still chose to involve the SBT, the facts would appear to speak for themselves and it is to be hoped that common sense will now prevail.
Hopefully the New Zealand Government might take note of the proposed changes in law in Lower Saxony and Brandenburg in Germany and introduce laws that deal with dogs that show "conspicuous aggression" rather than just try to ban those that have a particular physical appearance.