Ayen's Law: family's call for national ban on savage dogs will be heard
THE family of the four-year-old savaged to death by a pit bull wants a national ban on dangerous dogs - and the Federal Government has agreed.
By Nick Calacouras
•September 09, 2011 12:04AM
•Grieving family calls for national pit bull ban
•Federal Government will push to unify dog laws
•"One attack on a child is too many"
Ayen Chol's family told news.com.au they would like to see a blanket ban on savage breeds like the one that killed their daughter last month.
And in a win for parents across the nation, Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland has promised to raise uniform bans with his state and territory counterparts, saying "we should be doing everything we can to prevent these kinds of horrific attacks."
He added: "One attack on a child is too many."
The Victorian Government passed urgent dog laws following Ayen's death three weeks ago when a pit bull entered her family home.
But other states are lagging behind and the girl's grieving parents have called for a national ban to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
"We would like that type of dog, the pit bull, to be banned and any other dangerous breed," the family told news.com.au through a spokesman.
"That should apply Australia-wide."
Ayen died while clutching her mother's leg as the dog chased her through the front door. Her 31-year-old and five-year-old cousins were also attacked by the animal.
States and territories are responsible for their own dog laws, but now the Federal Government will step in and lead an overhaul.
"Clearly, we should be doing everything we can to avoid these kinds of horrific attacks."
Mr McClelland told news.com.au there needed to be national consistency on registration, penalties and management of dangerous dogs
"Clearly, we should be doing everything we can to avoid these kinds of horrific attacks. Unfortunately, they occur far too frequently. One attack on a child is one too many," he said.
He said the discussion would also look at which laws were most effective and how best to enforce them.
"Ayen Chol’s death touched the heart of the community and every parent, and reinforced the need for dog owners and the wider community to work together to make our homes and streets as safe as possible," he said.
Only five of the eight Australian jurisdictions automatically restrict dangerous breeds.
And some jurisdictions still allow these breeds to be sold or given away.
The Northern Territory has no laws regarding dangerous animals and relies entirely on local council by-laws.
This comes after fears pit bull owners have started dumping their pets on the streets of Melbourne to avoid a recent crackdown.
After the attack, Premier Ted Baillieu said the incident was unacceptable and dangerous breeds had lost the right to exist.
"There cannot be a more tragic situation than to see a young child like this killed in this horrible, horrible way," he said.
Under the new laws, dog inspectors were sent on a search and destroy mission to rid Victoria of thousands of pit bull terriers.
Council officers are now armed with seize and destroy powers for unregistered restricted breed dogs.
But there have been at least four pit bulls caught wandering the northern suburbs of Melbourne in the past week.
Rangers fear the dogs are being dumped by owners trying to avoid being caught breeding or importing the dangerous animals.
WHICH DOG LAWS ARE THE WEAKEST?
(This is a guide only - for detailed information please contact your local council or state or territory government.)
Animals such as pit bulls are automatically restricted and cannot be bred, acquired or sold. Other dogs can be declared "dangerous" if it attacks or kills a person or animal without provocation, or repeatedly threatens to attack. These animals must be desexed and a warning sign placed on the house. Indoors, it must be in a cage 1.8m high and wide and have an area not less than 10 square metres. If a "dangerous" animal attacks a person, the owner can face two years jail or $55,000 fine.
Before the new laws came into force, certain dogs were automatically restricted and they could not be bred, sold or acquired. But councils could renew the registration of an existing dangerous dog. Other animals could be declared dangerous if they caused injury, damage or chased a person, animal or vehicle. These animals must be desexed, microchipped and a warning sign placed on the home. Indoors, it must be enclosed (but can be kept in the backyard) and it must be leashed and muzzled outdoors.
Certain breeds, such as pit bulls, are automatically restricted. Council decides if an animal is "dangerous" or "menacing" - usually if it attacks or menaces a person or animal. These dogs are muzzled in public and a sign posted at home.
Certain breeds, such as pit bulls, are automatically restricted. These breeds must be desexed and cannot be sold or given away. When in public, it must be muzzled and kept on a leash. A dog can be considered "dangerous" or "menacing" if it is believed to have a "propensity to attack". Dangerous dogs must be desexed and microchipped. Indoors, it must be kept in an enclosure where it cannot escape and warning signs must be on the house. A menacing dog does not need to be desexed and must only be fenced in while at home.
Certain breeds are automatically considered dangerous and require warning signs, fencing and muzzling in public. Local councils may declare a dog dangerous if it attacks or shows a tendency to attack. Once declared dangerous, it must be muzzled and on a leash in public.
There are no automatically restricted breeds, but a dog can be declared dangerous if it has caused a serious injury to a person or animal - or if the council believes it is likely to attack. In public, a dangerous dog must be muzzled and on a leash. At home, it must be in a cage 1.8m high and wide with a sign at the front. These dogs must be desexed and microchipped within 28 days. The owner is liable for up to $2600 for any subsequent attack. You can purchase a dangerous dog with council approval.
There are no restricted breeds in the ACT. But the council can declare a dog dangerous - usually because of an attack or dangerous behaviour. These dogs must be kept on a leash and a muzzle when outdoors.
The Northern Territory does not have any overarching dog laws. Dog management is the responsibility of each council.
Ayen's Law: family's call for national ban on savage dogs will be heard | News.com.au