"Dodgy and unscientific statistics"
THE NEW Zealand Government says new figures on dog attacks support its plans to toughen dog control legislation. According to a Government report, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of cases needing admission to hospital, writes Nick Mays.
Local Government Minister Chris Carter says "with close to half a million dogs in New Zealand, the figures work out to one attack for every eight or nine people".
He says the figures support new legislation which will help local authorities to better cope with dog control.
Clint Reeve of the New Zealand Dog law Action Group dismissed Carters claims out of hand saying, "The incidence of dog attacks has been steadily declining over the last 4 years but the severity of dog attacks is on the increase.
"Well, I would be very surprised if the number of APBT's have decreased over the last 4 years so the statistics suggest that as the population of dangerous dogs grows, the number of attacks declines. Basically, its populist rubbish. Thats the thing we are up against. The Government have the liberty to use dodgy and unscientific statistics to make any point they choose."
Fellow anti-BSL campaigner Marion Harding agreed broadly with this assessment, pointing out that the whole law, as proposed was "A dog's breakfast. "Everyone I speak to has made submissions and generally or they did write to the Government previously, so this has really moved dog owners to have a say," said Ms Harding.
"The New Zealand Kennel Club has now done everything it can to get members to put in private submissions. It is committed to the campaign against BSL and working hard in that direction. I have found more apathy among our New Zealand Kennel Club members though, than with the pet owners. There have been a number of articles in newspapers and magazines about the futility of most of these proposed law changes.
None of the law changes address the real issues of people behaviour, people education, welfare of dogs, dog control officers carrying out their duties as per the existing laws. Until these are addressed people will continue to get bitten by dangerous dogs; dangerous dogs who are made that way by dangerous/irresponsible people."
Submissions close on Friday 20th June. These will then be considered by the Local Government. Select Committee and then they will report their recommendations back to Parliament for a Bill to be produced and voted upon.
The proposed changes to the Dog Control Act 1996 can be seen at website - www.dia.govt.nz/dia