Breed Specific Legislation and the Pit Bull: A comparative look at

   influencing factors on individual thoughts and perc...
Abstract

In recent years the Pit Bull has been in the spotlight for their perceived aggressive
behaviour and tendency to ...
1.0   Introduction
      Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL as it is commonly referred to, is where a specific
      breed...
Current literature concerning BSL focuses more on its failures and the media’s role in
causing community panic and outrage...
misidentification and the use of breed clusters (used due the imprecise nature of breed
identification) instead of individ...
There is minimal literature available on personal perception regarding the Pit Bull and the
    influence that the media h...
Table 1: Group Breakup of Respondent               Table 2: Group Breakup of Parental
          Country of Birth          ...
n                   %
                 Study F/T                       31                  29.52
                 Study P/...
Figure 1: Perception of the Media

       40
       35

       30
       25
                                              ...
Question 20 asked the respondent whether they had heard of BSL previously. 68.57% (n 72)
answered yes, 20.95% (n 22) answe...
Figure 4: Perception of Media & BSL

                45
                40
                35
                30
         ...
Figure 6: Breeds Identified as Restricted / Banned By Name

  American Pitbull Terrier                                    ...
Figure 8: Breed Identified as Restricted / Banned By Picture

                      Ultimate Mastiff        8.60%
        ...
Std.         Sig.
Table 7                                   What Is Your Gender?      Mean        Deviation    (2-tailed)
...
Identification By Name       Have You Ever Worked In The
                             Animal Welfare Industry**     Mean  ...
Table 11:

Q29. Do you think it is
possible to accurately
identify a dog’s breed
based on physical
appearance alone?      ...
Q13. Do you think
the media influences
your perception of
issues?              APBT1       PBT2      FB3     DA4       JT5...
Q10. How often would
you say that you read a
newspaper, be it
electronically or in hard
copy form?                APBT1   ...
Q14. Do you think
the media focuses
reports on issues
that may be
controversial?          APBT1    PBT2      FB3      DA4 ...
12 which refer to frequency of media use. Those that read the paper daily (Table 13)
consistently named the APBT (mean 0.8...
2t 0.049), while females tended to consider more ‘weak’ factors such as fear (Sig. 2t .001)
and nervousness (sig. 2t 0.002...
pictured are classed as restricted in Australia (as shown in Appendix D), yet only one,
    Dogo Argentino which is rarely...
council workers) are expected to possess specialised knowledge concerning dog breeds
      and behaviours, more training i...
Cohen, J. Richardson, J. 2002. ‘Pit Bull Panic’. Journal of Popular Culture. 2:36. pp285-317,
Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http:...
Seksel, K. 2002. ‘Report to the NSW Department of Local Government on Breed Specific
Legislation Issues Relating to Contro...
(1)   The following dogs are restricted dogs for the purposes of this Act:
(a)   American pit bull terrier or pit bull ter...
57A Prohibition on selling restricted dog or proposed restricted dog

(1) A person who sells, or advertises the sale of, a...
Appendix B: Companion Animals Regulation 2008
   Part 4 Dangerous or restricted dogs
   24 Enclosure requirements for dang...
(2) The enclosure must:
(a) be fully enclosed, constructed and maintained in such a way so that the dog is not able to dig...
(2) A dog must not wear any such collar unless the dog is a dangerous dog or a restricted dog.




       Appendix C: Surv...
The principle aim of this research project is to discover whether the media has an
   influence over the public and their ...
born in?                   □ Other, Please Specify
                              __________________________
4. What countr...
say that you watch the     □   2 – 3 times weekly
    news?
                               □   4 – 5 times weekly

       ...
media has played a role    Strongly      1       2   3   4   5   6    7    Strongly
    in the government          Agree  ...
□ Dogo Argentino        □ Neopolitan Mastiff
                              □ Fila Brasilerio       □ Doberman
            ...
□                        □                      □




                         □                     □                    ...
Bordeaux




American Bulldog          American Staffordshire Terrier   Australian Bandogge




      Boerboel            ...
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BSL Research Report

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The report details the results of the Media Influence and Breed Specific Legislation survey.

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BSL Research Report

  1. 1. Breed Specific Legislation and the Pit Bull: A comparative look at influencing factors on individual thoughts and perception. 1
  2. 2. Abstract In recent years the Pit Bull has been in the spotlight for their perceived aggressive behaviour and tendency to attack without provocation, in reality becoming a ‘scape-dog’ for all attacks. The aim of the study was to discover whether the media has played a part in influencing public perception of the Pit Bull, which in turn influences the government to implement Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Perceptions of respondents who work in the animal welfare field were compared to those respondents that do not. Gender and age was also explored to determine if these variables impacted on perception. An electronic and hard copy form of the survey was distributed among animal welfare workers, friends, acquaintances, family and university students, with results being compiled using the SPSS data analysis program. Of significance, it was found that those who frequently read / watched the news were able to accurately identify by name only 1 of the 5 restricted breeds, that being the Pit Bull Terrier or American Pit Bull Terrier. It was found that respondents were unable to identify these same breeds by physical appearance. This highlights the misleading influence the media has on public perception by use of inaccurate photographs and information on the Pit Bull. Other significant findings included animal welfare workers inability to select restricted breeds solely on physical appearance, disparity throughout the age groups in relation to factors contributing to aggression and disbelief in the effectiveness of BSL. Of interest, it was also found that males tend to select ‘strong’ factors and females ‘weak’ factors which contribute to dog aggression. It was found that more in-depth research needs to be carried out by the government to enable them to implement strategies to more effectively deal with aggressive dogs and to educate the general public on these strategies. More training and education also needs to be provided to those employed in the animal welfare field regarding breed identification. 2
  3. 3. 1.0 Introduction Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL as it is commonly referred to, is where a specific breed of animal is banned on the basis of their breed, not individual behaviour. BSL has been implemented in NSW through the Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Companion Animals Regulation 2008, with the Pit Bull and Pit Bull crosses the latest target. BSL is not a novel legislative instrument in Australia; an import ban was placed on the German Shepherd in 1928 as it was deemed to be a threat to farmers should it breed with Dingoes and create a ‘super race of sheep killing canines’ (EDBA, 2006). This ban however was lifted in 1974 and the German Shepherd has gone on to become a popular family pet and guardian, consistently placing in the top 5 of most popular breeds. However there is now a general international consensus that BSL is ineffective and does little to prevent dog attacks. A number of countries have implemented BSL in different forms to no avail, yet the Australian government insists on introducing these measures instead of dealing with the root of the problem; a lack of responsible ownership, lax dangerous dog laws and lack of community education. At 63%, Australia has the world’s highest incidence of pet ownership, including 3.7 million registered dogs (ACAC, 2009). If BSL is allowed to continue many people, most notably responsible owners, will be affected. This is due to the current mentality of banning a dog once it is perceived as aggressive. The German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Doberman, Staffordshire terrier and many more breeds could be next in the firing line. Instead of implementing legislation that will target problem owners who own aggressive animals, the state and federal governments target responsible owners of certain breeds. This causes the problem that by introducing BSL responsible owners will no longer own the restricted breed. Only irresponsible owners, who own the breed as a social status or macho accessory, and thrive on the fact they own an aggressive animal, will now be attracted to the Pit Bull. These irresponsible owners are unlikely to adhere to strict restrictions that apply to the Pit Bull, extracts of which are provided in Appendices A and B. 3
  4. 4. Current literature concerning BSL focuses more on its failures and the media’s role in causing community panic and outrage. Huitson’s (2005) in-depth review of two decades of media stories found a dramatic increase in the past five years of Pit Bull related stories, with breed misidentification, evocative language and myths (such as the Pit Bull’s ability to lock their jaw) rife amongst the articles. Huitson (2005) found that a ‘moral panic’ spread through communities where these types of articles were repeatedly featured. Houston (2007) concurs with Huitson, going further to highlight the bias displayed by the media by providing examples of three similar dog attacks. He noted that the only story to be reported by the media involved an attack by a Pit Bull. Houston espouses the media sensationalises stories to evoke fear in an attempt to boost ratings and profits. Other studies include Cohen & Richardson’s (2002) work which investigated media portrayal of the Pit Bull. They concluded that the Pit Bull is demonised by the media by fabricating information and using strategies that sustain myths and associate the Pit Bull with criminal activity in order to create fear within the community. Statistical analysis of dog attacks has been carried out by numerous researchers. Responding to the proliferation of serious dog attacks in America, Hussain (2006) found the Pit Bull responsible for one third of American ‘canine homicides’, noting extensive media coverage elevated the Pit Bull to a sought after breed for perspective owners seeking an aggressive dog. Another American study conducted by Bradley (2007) found the media were prone to reporting only those attacks perpetrated by a Pit Bull, in turn influencing public opinion on the breed. Bradley noted that BSL does little to decrease bite incidences, nor does it deter irresponsible owners seeking the breed based of their reputation; BSL could in fact increase attacks as irresponsible owners neglect to adhere to regulations. Bradley suggests diverting BSL resources into community education programs promoting responsible ownership, and proper enforcement of existing regulations for aggressive dogs. Australian statistics are flawed as there are no uniformed reporting mechanisms (Seksel 2004). Attempts to ‘calculate breeds attacks rates lacks validity’ due to a variety of factors including incomplete or inconsistent data collection on ownership and attacks, breed 4
  5. 5. misidentification and the use of breed clusters (used due the imprecise nature of breed identification) instead of individual breeds in compiling statistics (Collier, 2006). Contrary to popular belief Pit Bulls rarely appear in Australian bite statistics (Watson, 2004), nor have they been responsible for any of the 19 recorded deaths in Australia from dog attacks. In addition, any attempt to reflect a true breed attack rate would be flawed, considering that ½ to ⅓of dogs in Australia are not registered (Collier, 2006). This is particularly relevant to the Pit Bull due to the high level of irresponsible ownership (Mills, 2006). Most Australian researchers concur with the American findings that resources should target public education when attempting to reduce dog attacks, rather than implementing BSL. Of interest is Burnstein’s (2004) suggestion that BSL provides communities with a ‘false sense of security’ as residents now assume all vicious or aggressive dogs have been banned. Stereotyping whole breeds rather than individuals as aggressive provides false representation (Gladwell, 2006) despite common sense dictating that any dog can bite in a variety of situations and circumstances. An interesting study by Schalke et al (2008) involved the analysis of temperament tests in 415 dogs from banned or restricted breeds in Hanover. These bans enforced after the death of a child in a school playground included 11 breeds such as the Pit Bull, Doberman and Mastiff. To remain in possession or have restrictions lifted from these breeds, the dogs had to pass a temperament test. If they failed, banned dogs were euthanized, or in the case of restricted breeds, owners had to comply with strict restrictions concerning the keeping of their dog. Schalke et al found that there was little to no difference in the dogs’ behaviour, despite the varied breeds. 95% of the dogs analysed in this study passed the temperament test, therefore disproving the authority’s belief that the implementation of these bans and restrictions will reduce the incidence of dog attacks. Ott et al (2008) followed up this study by comparing the temperament tests of 70 Golden Retrievers to those of the banned / restricted dogs. On analysis of the data, no significant differences in exhibited behaviour was noted. This again disproved that BSL was effective in reducing incidences of dog attacks. The studies were so persuasive that the legislation was withdrawn. 5
  6. 6. There is minimal literature available on personal perception regarding the Pit Bull and the influence that the media has. This is an area that requires more study to provide a comprehensive analysis of the issue. This study involved distribution of a survey to 105 individuals that required them to answer specific questions relating to their perception of the Pit Bull, media influence and Breed Specific Legislation. This quantitative study aims to address the above issues to help reduce the gap in current Australian literature. Hypothesis: To determine the level of public opinion of dog breeds and BSL and how this opinion was formed, be it from media influence or personal knowledge / experience. 2.0 Method One hundred and twenty five, 30 question surveys were distributed to proposed respondents (a copy of the survey is provided in appendix C). This included work colleagues, friends, family and fellow students. Surveys were personally delivered or emailed to respondents. Of the 125 surveys sent out, 105 responses were received. The survey was conducted between the 5th – 15th October 2009. Respondents were asked to answer questions relating to their age, sex, education level and place of birth. Information regarding thoughts on the media, legislation and specific dog breeds was also requested. 3.0 Results Of the 105 respondents 61% were aged under 30, 39% were over 30 (group breakup: <20 = (n 27) 25.71%, 21 – 25 = (n 22) 20.95%, 26 – 30 = (n 15) 14.28%, 31 – 35 = (n 18) 17.14%, 36 – 40 = (n 10) 9.52%, 41 – 45 = (n 6) 5.71%, 46 – 50 = (n 3) 2.85%, 51 – 55 = (n 1) 0.95%, 56 – 60 = (n 3) 2.85%). The average age of respondents was 29 (mean = 29.228). Of those 33.33% were male (n 35), 66.66% were female (n 70). The majority of the respondents, at 79.04%, are Australian born (for group breakup: see Table 1) while 43.78% of respondents parents were born overseas (group breakup: see Table 2). The majority of respondents lived with their parents (group breakdown: Live with parents = (n 40) 38.09%, Board = (n 4 ) 3.80%, Rent = (n 31) 29.52%, Own = (n 30) 28.57%). 6
  7. 7. Table 1: Group Breakup of Respondent Table 2: Group Breakup of Parental Country of Birth Country of Birth Country n % Country n % Australia 59 56.19 Australian 83 79.04 USA 5 4.76 USA 2 1.90 UK 20 19.04 UK 12 11.42 Africa 1 0.95 Asia 2 1.90 Asia 6 5.71 Europe 3 2.85 South America 6 5.71 Russia 1 0.95 Europe 5 4.76 Russia 1 0.95 NZ 2 1.90 Middle East 2 1.90 51.41% of respondents have attained an education level higher than the school certificate, while the majority of respondents’ parents’ attained a high school education (Table 3). Table 3: Level of Education; Respondents and Respondents’ Parents Q6. What is your level of Q7. What level of education education? did your parents achieve? Level of Education Attained n % n % High School 49 46.66 67 63.80 Tertiary 25 23.80 11 10.47 Undergraduate 26 24.76 14 13.33 Postgraduate 4 3.80 10 9.52 Other (PHD) 1 0.95 3 2.85 29.52% of respondents were in full time study, 55.23% worked full time, while 20.94% both worked and studied simultaneously (Table 4). Of these 41.90% of respondents have worked or currently work in the animal welfare industry. Group breakdown: No = (n 61) 58.09%, Yes = (n 44) 41.90%. Table 4: Study / Work Commitments 7
  8. 8. n % Study F/T 31 29.52 Study P/T 9 8.57 Work F/T 58 55.23 Work P/T 28 26.66 Unemployed 1 0.95 Study F/T & Work P/T 13 12.38 Study F/T & Work F/T 1 0.95 Study P/T & Work F/T 6 5.71 Study P/T & Work P/T 2 1.90 Question 10 and 12 (Table 5) related to frequency of use for two types of media, the newspaper and television news programs. Question 13 asks the respondent if they think the media influences their perception of issues, while Question 14 asks the respondent if they think the media focuses reports on issues that may be controversial (Figure 1). Table 5: Frequency of Media Use. Q10. How often would you say that you Q12. How often would you say that read a newspaper, be it electronically or in you watch the news? hard copy form? Frequency n % n % Daily 29 27.61 50 47.61 2 – 3 times 47 44.76 35 33.33 weekly 4 – 5 times 13 12.38 17 16.19 weekly Never 16 15.23 3 2.85 Question 15 asked if the respondent had seen any media reports on dog attacks. 2.85% answered no (n 3), while 97.15% answered yes (n 102). Question 16 asked whether media reports mentioned the breed of dog which had attacked, while Question 17 asked whether media reports on dog attacks were accompanied by a picture of the attacking dog (Figure 2). 8
  9. 9. Figure 1: Perception of the Media 40 35 30 25 Q13 % 20 Q14 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 = Strongly Agree 7 = Strongly Disagree Figure 2: Media Reports: Identification of attacking dogs 50 45 40 35 30 Q16 % 25 Q17 20 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 = Strongly Agree 7 = Strongly Disagree Questions 18 and 19 refer to previous and current dog ownership, while 19a asks how many dogs the respondent currently owns (Table 6). Table 6: Previous and current dog ownership Q18. Have you Q19. Do you Q19a. previously owned currently own How many? a dog? a dog? n % n % n % No 5 4.8 24 22.8 0 24 22.85 Yes 100 95.2 81 77.2 1 31 29.52 2 24 22.85 3 17 16.19 >4 9 8.57 9
  10. 10. Question 20 asked the respondent whether they had heard of BSL previously. 68.57% (n 72) answered yes, 20.95% (n 22) answered no, 10.47% (n 11) answered unsure. Question 21 asked where they had first heard of BSL (Figure 3). Figure 3: Q21. Where did you first learn of BSL? Vet 0.95 Council 1.9 Now 3.8 Website 8.57 Social Network 5.71 Family / Friend 20.95 Book 0 News Media 20.95 No Answer 15.23 0 5 10 15 20 25 % In Question 22 & 23 respondents were asked if they have previously or currently owned a restricted breed (Table 6). Table 6: Previous and current ownership of restricted dogs Q22. Have you Q22a. Q23. Do you Q23a. previously owned How Many? currently own How Many? Restricted breed? Restricted breed? n % n % n % n % No 76 72.38 0 92 84 80.00 0 93 88.57 87.61 Yes 14 13.33 1 9 12 11.42 1 9 8.57 8.57 Unsure 12 11.42 2 4 7 6.66 2 3 2.85 3.80 Unanswered 3 2.85 2 1.90 Question 24, 25 and 26 refer to the respondent’s thoughts on; whether the media influenced the government to implement BSL, if they believe BSL is effective and if they believe BSL will solve problems associated with aggressive dogs (Figure 4). 10
  11. 11. Figure 4: Perception of Media & BSL 45 40 35 30 Q24. 25 % Q25. 20 Q26. 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 = Strongly Agree 2 = Strongly Disagree Question 27 related to what factors the respondents considered attributed to dog aggression (Figure 5). Figure 5: Factors of Aggression 60 1 50 2 40 3 Respondents 30 4 20 5 6 10 7 0 Born Fear Pain Nervousness Untrained Naughty Dominant Aggressive 1 52 39 27 14 27 9 23 2 31 24 18 9 18 6 23 3 10 17 32 18 20 21 22 4 8 15 17 24 19 26 24 5 1 4 9 9 5 13 4 6 1 2 1 11 7 11 4 7 2 4 1 20 7 19 2 Question 28 asked the respondent to name from a provided list the breeds which they thought were restricted by BSL in Australia (Figure 6). 11
  12. 12. Figure 6: Breeds Identified as Restricted / Banned By Name American Pitbull Terrier 89.50% Doberman 16.20% Fila Brasilerio 36.20% Neopolitan Mastiff 10.50% Dogo Argentino 41% Pitbull Terrier 85.70% Akita 15.20% Dogue de Bordeaux 9.50% Bull Mastiff 20% Maltese Terrier 1.90% Japanese Tosa 46.70% Shiba Inu 6.70% Rotw eiller 21.90% Affenpinscher 6.70% Presa Canario 24.80% Chihuahua 1% Bull Terrier 26.70% Question 29 asked the respondent to indicate whether they think it is possible to identify a breed of dog on their physical appearance alone (Figure 7). Figure 7: Q29. Do you think it is possible to accurately identify a dog's breed based on physical appearance alone? 30.0 25.0 20.0 % 15.0 10.0 5.0 .0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1: Strongly Agree 7: Strongly Disagree Finally, question 30 asked respondent’s to select which breeds they thought were restricted based solely on physical appearance from the pictures provided (Figure 8). 12
  13. 13. Figure 8: Breed Identified as Restricted / Banned By Picture Ultimate Mastiff 8.60% Pitweiler 16.20% Guatamalan Bull Terrier 56.20% Fila Brasileiro 11.40% Dogo Argentino 61.00% Dogue De Bordeaux 15.20% Bullypit 8.60% Bull Mastiff 11.40% Boerboel 12.40% Australian Bandogge 33.30% American Staffordshire Terrier 46.70% American Bulldog 42.90% American Bull Dogue de Bordeaux 25.70% American Bandogge Mastiff 61.00% Presa Canario 43.80% Various T-test’s comparisons were carried out with differing variables. The significant findings are included as follows: • Table 7: Gender • Table 8: Age • Table 9: Animal welfare workers compared to non animal welfare workers • Table 10: Animal welfare workers compared to non animal welfare workers regarding breed identification • Table 11: Comparison of attitudes towards breed identification and ability to name or identify restricted breeds • Table 12: Comparison of perception of media influence and ability to name or identify restricted breeds • Table 13: Comparison of newspaper use and ability to name or identify restricted breeds • Table 14: Comparison of frequency of watching news and ability to name or identify restricted breeds • Table 15: Comparison of perception of media focus on controversial issues and ability to name or identify restricted breeds 13
  14. 14. Std. Sig. Table 7 What Is Your Gender? Mean Deviation (2-tailed) Q16. Did these reports mention the 1 2.4000 1.47927 .030 breed which had attacked? 2 1.7857 1.27282 .040 Q27. (A): Fear 1 2.4857 1.48267 .001 2 1.6286 1.05186 .004 Q27. (C): Nervousness 1 3.2857 1.27352 .002 2 2.4286 1.33592 .002 Q27. (D): Born Aggressive 1 3.5429 1.89958 .034 2 4.4143 1.98175 .032 Q27. (G): Dominance 1 3.1429 1.30931 .064 2 2.5571 1.60286 .049 Q29. Do you think It Is possible to 1 3.5143 1.31443 .006 accurately Identify a dog's breed on 2 4.4429 1.70792 .003 physical appearance alone? Which age group Std. Sig. Table 8 do you belong to? Mean Deviation (2-tailed) Q25. Do you believe BSL is an effective 1 3.7778 1.73944 .051 tool to reduce problems associated 2 4.8636 2.05393 .056 with aggressive dogs? Q27. (D): Born Aggressive 1 3.5556 1.90815 .025 2 4.9091 2.18019 .027 Q27. (F): Naughty 3 4.8667 1.68466 .039 4 3.5556 1.78958 .038 Q27. (G): Dominance 5 2.8000 1.22927 .023 6 4.5000 1.37840 .033 Have You Ever Worked In The Std. Sig. Table 9 Animal Welfare Industry? Mean Deviation (2-tailed) Q16. Did These Reports Mention The 1 2.2787 1.51802 .010 Breed Which Had Attacked? 2 1.5909 1.01885 .007 Q25. Do You Believe BSL is an Effective 1 4.4426 1.68844 .007 Tool to Reduce Problems Associated With 2 5.4318 2.00462 .009 Aggressive Dogs? Q26. Do You Believe BSL Will Solve the 1 4.9672 1.71238 .008 Problems Associated With Aggressive 2 5.8636 1.62239 .008 Dogs? Q27. (A): Fear 1 2.1311 1.18989 .039 2 1.6136 1.33322 .043 Q27. (C): Nervousness 1 3.0984 1.30006 .001 2 2.1818 1.29889 .001 Q27. (D): Born Aggressive 1 3.7541 1.84983 .024 2 4.6364 2.08082 .027 Q27. (F): Naughty 1 3.8852 1.73300 .005 2 4.8864 1.79425 .005 Table 10 14
  15. 15. Identification By Name Have You Ever Worked In The Animal Welfare Industry** Mean Std. Deviation Sig. (2-tailed) Bull Terrier 1 .3934 .49257 .000 2 .0909 .29080 .000 Rottweiler 1 .3770 .48867 .000 2 .0000 .00000 .000 Japanese Tosa 1 .2295 .42401 .000 2 .7955 .40803 .000 Bull Mastiff 1 .3443 .47907 .000 2 .0000 .00000 .000 Dogue de Bordeaux 1 .1475 .35759 .032 2 .0227 .15076 .017 Dogo Argentino 1 .1639 .37329 .000 2 .7500 .43802 .000 Neapolitan Mastiff 1 .1639 .37329 .020 2 .0227 .15076 .009 Fila Brasilerio 1 .1803 .38765 .000 2 .6136 .49254 .000 Doberman 1 .2787 .45207 .000 2 .0000 .00000 .000 American Pit Bull Terrier 1 .8197 .38765 .003 2 1.0000 .00000 .001 Identification By Picture Australian Bandogge 1 .4590 .50245 .001 2 .1591 .36999 .001 Bull Mastiff 1 .1803 .38765 .012 2 .0227 .15076 .005 Bully-Pit 1 .1475 .35759 .007 2 .0000 .00000 .002 Dogue de Bordeaux 1 .2459 .43419 .001 2 .0227 .15076 .000 Pit-weiler 1 .2787 .45207 .000 2 .0000 .00000 .000 American Bulldog 1 .6066 .49257 .000 2 .1818 .39015 .000 ** 1 = No, I have not or do not work in the Animal Welfare Industry, 2 = Yes, I have or currently work in the Animal Welfare Industry 15
  16. 16. Table 11: Q29. Do you think it is possible to accurately identify a dog’s breed based on physical appearance alone? APBT1 PBT2 FB3 DA4 JT5 PC6 PPW7 PBP8 PPC9 PDA10 PFB11 1** Mean 1.0000 .0000 .6667 .8333 .3333 .0000 .5000 .5000 .1667 .5000 1.0000 N 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 Std. Deviation .00000 .00000 .51640 .40825 .51640 .00000 .54772 .54772 .40825 .54772 .00000 2 Mean .7778 .1111 .2222 .1111 .1111 .0000 .1111 .5556 .0000 .2222 .7778 N 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 Std. Deviation .44096 .33333 .44096 .33333 .33333 .00000 .33333 .52705 .00000 .44096 .44096 3 Mean .8696 .0870 .3043 .3478 .1739 .0435 .2609 .4783 .0435 .2174 .7391 N 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 Std. Deviation .34435 .28810 .47047 .48698 .38755 .20851 .44898 .51075 .20851 .42174 .44898 4 Mean .8966 .2069 .3448 .4483 .3103 .1724 .5862 .7241 .2069 .4138 .8966 N 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 Std. Deviation .30993 .41225 .48373 .50612 .47082 .38443 .50123 .45486 .41225 .50123 .30993 5 Mean .8750 .1875 .4375 .5625 .3750 .0000 .5625 .8125 .0625 .3750 .8750 N 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 Std. Deviation .34157 .40311 .51235 .51235 .50000 .00000 .51235 .40311 .25000 .50000 .34157 6 Mean 1.0000 .2222 .6667 .6667 .0000 .2222 .4444 .5556 .2222 .5556 .8889 N 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 Std. Deviation .00000 .44096 .50000 .50000 .00000 .44096 .52705 .52705 .44096 .52705 .33333 7 Mean .9231 .2308 .5385 .5385 .3077 .0769 .4615 .4615 .0769 .3846 .9231 N 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 Std. Deviation .27735 .43853 .51887 .51887 .48038 .27735 .51887 .51887 .27735 .50637 .27735 ** Likert Scale of 1 – 7; 1 = Strongly Agree, 7 = Strongly Disagree 1 7 American Pit Bull Terrier identified by name Pitweiler identified by picture 2 8 Pit Bull Terrier identified by name Bullypit identified by picture 3 9 Fila Brasilerio identified by name Presa Canario identified by picture 4 10 Dogo Argentino identified by name Dogo Argentino identified by picture 5 11 Japanese Tosa identified by name Fila Brasilerio identified by picture 6 Presa Canario identified by name Table 12 16
  17. 17. Q13. Do you think the media influences your perception of issues? APBT1 PBT2 FB3 DA4 JT5 PC6 PPW7 PBP8 PPC9 PDA10 PFB11 1** Mean 1.0000 .0833 .4167 .2500 .2500 .3333 .7500 .0000 .0833 .3333 .9167 N 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 Std. .00000 .28868 .51493 .45227 .45227 .49237 .45227 .00000 .28868 .49237 .28868 Deviation 2 Mean .9524 .1905 .4286 .4762 .3333 .3810 .7143 .0000 .0476 .4762 .9048 N 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 Std. .21822 .40237 .50709 .51177 .48305 .49761 .46291 .00000 .21822 .51177 .30079 Deviation 3 Mean .7391 .1304 .3043 .3478 .2609 .2609 .4348 .1739 .0435 .3043 .6522 N 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 Std. .44898 .34435 .47047 .48698 .44898 .44898 .50687 .38755 .20851 .47047 .48698 Deviation 4 Mean .9500 .1000 .7000 .4500 .2500 .7000 .6000 .1000 .2500 .6000 1.0000 N 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 Std. .22361 .30779 .47016 .51042 .44426 .47016 .50262 .30779 .44426 .50262 .00000 Deviation 5 Mean .9333 .2667 .5333 .2667 .1333 .4667 .6667 .1333 .2000 .2667 .8667 N 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 Std. .25820 .45774 .51640 .45774 .35187 .51640 .48795 .35187 .41404 .45774 .35187 Deviation 6 Mean .8571 .1429 .4286 .4286 .2857 .7143 .4286 .0000 .1429 .4286 .7143 N 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 Std. .37796 .37796 .53452 .53452 .48795 .48795 .53452 .00000 .37796 .53452 .48795 Deviation 7 Mean .8571 .2857 .4286 .1429 .1429 .2857 .7143 .1429 .0000 .4286 1.0000 N 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 Std. .37796 .48795 .53452 .37796 .37796 .48795 .48795 .37796 .00000 .53452 .00000 Deviation ** Likert Scale of 1 – 7; 1 = Strongly Agree, 7 = Strongly Disagree 1 7 American Pit Bull Terrier identified by name Pitweiler identified by picture 2 8 Pit Bull Terrier identified by name Bullypit identified by picture 3 9 Fila Brasilerio identified by name Presa Canario identified by picture 4 10 Dogo Argentino identified by name Dogo Argentino identified by picture 5 11 Japanese Tosa identified by name Fila Brasilerio identified by picture 6 Presa Canario identified by name Table 13 17
  18. 18. Q10. How often would you say that you read a newspaper, be it electronically or in hard copy form? APBT1 PBT2 FB3 DA4 JT5 PC6 PPW7 PBP8 PPC9 PDA10 PFB11 Daily Mean .8966 .9310 .5862 .4828 .3103 .1379 .3103 .5862 .1034 .4483 .1034 N 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 Std. Deviation .30993 .25788 .50123 .50855 .47082 .35093 .47082 .50123 .30993 .50612 .30993 2-3 Mean .9149 .8085 .3830 .4894 .2340 .1277 .4468 .5745 .1277 .3191 .0213 times N 47 47 47 47 47 47 47 47 47 47 47 weekly Std. Deviation .28206 .39773 .49137 .50529 .42798 .33732 .50254 .49977 .33732 .47119 .14586 3–4 Mean .7692 .7692 .3077 .4615 .2308 .3077 .3846 .5385 .0769 .4615 .3077 times N 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 weekly Std. Deviation .43853 .43853 .48038 .51887 .43853 .48038 .50637 .51887 .27735 .51887 .48038 Never Mean .9375 .9375 .2500 .3750 .1875 .1875 .6875 .8125 .1250 .2500 .0625 N 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 Std. Deviation .25000 .25000 .44721 .50000 .40311 .40311 .47871 .40311 .34157 .44721 .25000 1 7 American Pit Bull Terrier identified by name Pitweiler identified by picture 2 8 Pit Bull Terrier identified by name Bullypit identified by picture 3 9 Fila Brasilerio identified by name Presa Canario identified by picture 4 10 Dogo Argentino identified by name Dogo Argentino identified by picture 5 11 Japanese Tosa identified by name Fila Brasilerio identified by picture 6 Presa Canario identified by name Table 14 Q12. How often would you say that you watch the news? APBT1 PBT2 FB3 DA4 JT5 PC6 PPW7 PBP8 PPC9 PDA10 PFB11 Daily Mean .9600 .9200 .4800 .5400 .2800 .0800 .4200 .5800 .0800 .4000 .0400 N 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 Std. Deviation .19795 .27405 .50467 .50346 .45356 .27405 .49857 .49857 .27405 .49487 .19795 2-3 Mean .8000 .7429 .3714 .4286 .2286 .2571 .4571 .6571 .2286 .3429 .1429 times N 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 weekly Std. Deviation .40584 .44344 .49024 .50210 .42604 .44344 .50543 .48159 .42604 .48159 .35504 3–4 Mean .8824 .8824 .2941 .3529 .2353 .1765 .4118 .5882 .0000 .2941 .1176 times N 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 weekly Std. Deviation .33211 .33211 .46967 .49259 .43724 .39295 .50730 .50730 .00000 .46967 .33211 Never Mean 1.0000 1.0000 .3333 .3333 .0000 .3333 .6667 .6667 .0000 .3333 .0000 N 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Std. Deviation .00000 .00000 .57735 .57735 .00000 .57735 .57735 .57735 .00000 .57735 .00000 1 7 American Pit Bull Terrier identified by name Pitweiler identified by picture 2 8 Pit Bull Terrier identified by name Bullypit identified by picture 3 9 Fila Brasilerio identified by name Presa Canario identified by picture 4 10 Dogo Argentino identified by name Dogo Argentino identified by picture 5 11 Japanese Tosa identified by name Fila Brasilerio identified by picture 6 Presa Canario identified by name Table 15 18
  19. 19. Q14. Do you think the media focuses reports on issues that may be controversial? APBT1 PBT2 FB3 DA4 JT5 PC6 PPW7 PBP8 PPC9 PDA10 PFB11 1.00** Mean .9000 .1000 .4500 .3750 .8250 .4000 .6000 .1250 .4000 .1750 .1750 N 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 Std. Deviation .30382 .30382 .50383 .49029 .38481 .49614 .49614 .33493 .49614 .38481 .38481 2.00 Mean .7778 .0741 .4074 .3333 .9259 .4444 .6296 .0741 .3704 .4074 .1111 N 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 Std. Deviation .42366 .26688 .50071 .48038 .26688 .50637 .49210 .26688 .49210 .50071 .32026 3.00 Mean .8333 .0000 .4444 .5000 .8889 .3889 .6111 .1111 .3333 .2222 .1111 N 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 Std. Deviation .38348 .00000 .51131 .51450 .32338 .50163 .50163 .32338 .48507 .42779 .32338 4.00 Mean 1.0000 .1667 .5833 .6667 1.0000 .5000 .5833 .2500 .4167 .2500 .1667 N 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 Std. Deviation .00000 .38925 .51493 .49237 .00000 .52223 .51493 .45227 .51493 .45227 .38925 5.00 Mean 1.0000 .0000 .5000 .5000 1.0000 .0000 1.0000 .0000 .0000 .0000 .0000 N 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Std. Deviation .00000 .00000 .70711 .70711 .00000 .00000 .00000 .00000 .00000 .00000 .00000 6.00 Mean .8000 .2000 .8000 .8000 1.0000 .4000 .4000 .0000 .2000 .2000 .6000 N 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 Std. Deviation .44721 .44721 .44721 .44721 .00000 .54772 .54772 .00000 .44721 .44721 .54772 7.00 Mean .0000 .0000 .0000 .0000 1.0000 .0000 1.0000 .0000 .0000 .0000 .0000 N 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Std. Deviation . . . . . . . . . . . ** Likert Scale of 1 – 7; 1 = Strongly Agree, 7 = Strongly Disagree 1 7 American Pit Bull Terrier identified by name Pitweiler identified by picture 2 8 Pit Bull Terrier identified by name Bullypit identified by picture 3 9 Fila Brasilerio identified by name Presa Canario identified by picture 4 10 Dogo Argentino identified by name Dogo Argentino identified by picture 5 11 Japanese Tosa identified by name Fila Brasilerio identified by picture 6 Presa Canario identified by name 4.0 Discussion The media has had an obvious influence on public perception regarding the Pit Bull due to the fact that the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) at 89.5% and the Pit Bull Terrier (PBT) at 85.7% were the only breeds to score highly when respondents were asked to identify restricted breeds by name (Figure 6). This is supported by the findings in questions 10 and 19
  20. 20. 12 which refer to frequency of media use. Those that read the paper daily (Table 13) consistently named the APBT (mean 0.8966, st. dev 0.30993) and PBT (mean 0.9310, st. dev 0.25788) as restricted, but failed to name other restricted breeds such as the Presa Canario (mean 0.1379, st. dev 0.35093) or Japanese Tosa (mean 0.3103, st. dev 0.47082). They also could not identify the restricted breeds by physical attributes (Pitweiler mean 0.1379, st. dev 0.47082 and the Bullypit mean 0.3103, st. dev 0.50123). Similar results were found for those that watched the news daily, consistently naming the APBT (mean 0.9600, st. dev 0.19795) and the PBT (mean 0.9200, st. dev 0.27405), but unable to identify those same breeds through physical attributes (Pitweiler mean 0.0800, st. dev 0.49857 and Bullypit mean 0.4200, st. dev 0.49857). Those who strongly agreed that the media influences perceptions (Table 12) also scored highly in naming the APBT (mean 1.000, st. dev 0.000) and the PBT (mean 0.833, st. dev 0.28868). In addition to this, 81% of respondents agreed (scores 1 – 3 on scale of 1 – 7) that the media focuses on controversial issues (Figure 1); of those that scored 1 on the Likert scale (Table 15) almost flawless results occurred during breed identification by name for the APBT (mean 0.9000, st. dev 0.30382) and the PBT (mean 1.000, st. dev 0.30382), although inability to identify those breeds by physical attributes was still present (Pitweiler mean 0.6000 st. dev 0.49614, Bullypit mean 0.1250 st. dev 0.33493). Of the 83% (Figure 2, scores 1 – 3 on scale of 1 – 7) of respondents agreeing that media reports always mention the breed that has attacked, those that scored 1 consistently identified the APBT as restricted by name (mean 0.9388, st. dev 0.24223). Interestingly 71% of respondents believe that the media influenced the government in their implementation of BSL (Figure 4). These results support the findings of previous studies in that the media consistently targets the Pit Bull when reporting dog attacks, which in turn influences public perception of the breed. The results also support previous findings that the breed is often misidentified, particularly through pictures accompanying articles, leading to skewed public perception on the physical appearance of the Pit Bull. No major discrepancies were found between perceptions with gender as the variable. The only significant finding relating to gender concerned the varying factors that the respondents felt contributed to dog aggression (Table 7). Males had a tendency to lean towards more ‘strong’ factors such as born aggressive (sig. 2t 0.032) and dominance (sig. 20
  21. 21. 2t 0.049), while females tended to consider more ‘weak’ factors such as fear (Sig. 2t .001) and nervousness (sig. 2t 0.002) important. The other interesting finding was that males tend to consider themselves more capable of identifying breeds on physical appearance than females (Male mean 3.5143, Female mean 4.4429, sig. 2t 0.003). Major discrepancies were found however when the variable changed to whether the respondent had worked in the animal welfare industry or not. Behaviours which the respondent considered to contribute to dog aggression varied; welfare workers considered nervousness (welfare mean 2.1818, non welfare mean 3.0984 sig. 2t 0.001) a more important factor than naughty (welfare mean 4.8864, non welfare mean 3.8852, sig. 2t 0.005) when compared to non welfare respondents. When comparing whether the groups thought the media reported breeds in their stories, animal welfare workers agreed that they frequently did, while non welfare workers were noncommittal (welfare mean 1.5909, non welfare mean 2.2787, sig. 2t 0.007). This is perhaps a result of welfare workers being more interested in media reports concerning animals than those not working in the industry. When comparing attitudes towards BSL, opinions varied between the groups. Welfare workers are more skeptical of BSL’s effectiveness (welfare mean 5.4318, non welfare mean 4.4426, sig. 2t 0.007) and ability to solve aggressive dog problems (welfare mean 5.8636, non welfare mean 4.9672, sig. 2t 0.008). This finding is most likely the result of welfare workers being exposed to more aggressive animals from a variety of breeds compared to that of those not in the industry (Table 9). When it came to identifying breeds by name, those in the animal welfare industry were more likely to be able to name the restricted breeds however surprisingly when it came to identifying restricted breeds by physical appearance alone, those that did not work in the industry proved more successful (Table 10). Although the majority of respondents (27.6%) were uncommitted (scored 4 on Likert scale) when asked whether they thought it was possible to identify breeds on physical appearance alone, those that did strongly agree that it was possible (scores of 1 – 2 on Table 11 for combined percentage of 14.3) were unable to name either the Presa Canario or Pit Bull Terrier as restricted breeds, while only half (0.50%) identified the restricted breeds of Pitweiler, Bullypit and Dogo Argentino by the pictures provided. Overall the response was poor for identifying breeds by physical attributes alone. Five of the breeds 21
  22. 22. pictured are classed as restricted in Australia (as shown in Appendix D), yet only one, Dogo Argentino which is rarely found in Australia, had a response rate of over 50%. The most dismal results came from the breeds containing the Pit Bull, the only restricted breed in Australia that is commonplace; the Pitweiler - a Pit Bull / Rottweiller cross, had a response rate of 16.2%, while the Bullypit – a Bull Terrier / Pit Bull cross, had a response rate of only 8.6%. Considering that BSL applies to purebreds and their crosses, this is compelling evidence that BSL cannot work due to the unreliable nature of breed identification. Of interest it was found that those who were able to name the PBT in question 28 were more inclined to believe that BSL will be unable to solve the aggressive dog problem (selected mean 5.5333, not selected mean 4.2000, sig. 2t 0.005). Overall 20% (scores 1 – 3 on scale of 1 – 7) of respondents agree that BSL is effective, while only 10% (scores of 1 – 3 on scale of 1 – 7) of respondents believe that BSL will solve the problems associated with aggressive dogs (Figure 4). 5.0 Conclusion The results of this survey clearly indicate that the media has had a strong adverse affect on public perception of the Pit Bull. The ability to name the Pit Bull breed, yet inability to recognise them physically raises serious questions on the validity of whether the media is correctly portraying the breed in pictures that accompany news reports. Due to the Pit Bull not being a recognised breed as such, identification relies on personal perception of what a Pit Bull should look like. This has serious implications in that any dog, regardless of breed can be classified as restricted (which entails strict compliance to various control requirements, and can result in their seizure and euthanasia) if and when a person in the position to class it as such, regards the dog to resemble a Pit Bull. Based on the findings of this study, recommendations include the abolishment of BSL and the introduction of broader, uniformed ownership regulations. This would ensure owners take a responsible approach to dog ownership. Resources that are currently allocated to the enforcement of BSL can then be re-directed into community education programs. This will increase the public’s knowledge on how to identify both specific breeds and dog behaviour in general. Given that animal welfare workers (including shelter, pound and 22
  23. 23. council workers) are expected to possess specialised knowledge concerning dog breeds and behaviours, more training is needed to enable them to accurately identify the Pit Bull not just be name but also by physical traits. In addition, documentation and reporting of dog attacks in general needs to be standardised. Compulsory reporting by all councils to a central register will streamline statistics for better analysis of dog attacks. Increased public knowledge and streamlining of council notification in effect will assist the media in the researching of dog attacks, thereby reducing inaccurate reporting. 6.0 References ACAC. 2009. ‘The Importance of Pets’. Australian Companion Animal Council Inc. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www.acac.org.au/> Bradley, Janis. 2007. ‘Dog Bites: Problems and Solutions’. Animals & Society Institute. 2007 Policy Paper. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009.<http://www.understand-a-bull.com/> Burstein, Devin. 2004. ‘Breed Specific Legislation: Unfair Prejudice & Ineffective Policy’. Animal Legal & Historical Centre. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www.animallaw.info/journals/> 23
  24. 24. Cohen, J. Richardson, J. 2002. ‘Pit Bull Panic’. Journal of Popular Culture. 2:36. pp285-317, Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www3.interscience.wiley.com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/> Collier, Stephen. 2006 ‘Breed – specific legislation and the Pit Bull Terrier: Are the laws justified?’, Journal of Veterinary Behavior. Vol 1, pp17-22. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/> Companion Animals Act 1998. 2009. NSW Legislation. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/> Companion Animals Regulation 2008. 2009. NSW Legislation. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http:// www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/> EDBA. 2006. ‘What is Breed Specific Legislation?’ Endangered Dog Breed Association of Australia. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www.edba.org.au/> Gladwell, Malcolm. 2006. ‘Troublemakers: What Pit Bulls can teach us about profiling’. The New Yorker. February 6th 2006. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www.newyorker.com/> Houston, T.E. 2007. ‘The Media and The Pit Bull’. For Pit’s Sake. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www.forpitssake.orgl> Huitson, Niki. 2005. ‘An Exploratory Analysis of the Emergence and Implications of Breed Specific Legislation: Knee-jerk Reaction or Warranted Response?’ Simon Fraser University. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://ir.lib.sfu.ca/retrieve/2404/etd2000.pdf> Hussain, Safia. 2006. ‘Attacking the Dog-Bite Epidemic: Why Breed-Specific Legislation Won’t Solve the Dangerous-Dog Dilemma’. Fordham Law Review. April 2006. Vol 74. pp 2847 – 2887. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://law2.fordham.edu/> Mills, D.S. Levine, E. 2006. ‘The need for a co-ordinated scientific approach to the investigation of dog bit injuries’. The Veterinary Journal. 172:3. pp 398 – 399. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/ > Ott, S.A. Schalke, E. Von Gaertner, M. Hackbarth, H. 2008. ‘Is there a difference? Comparison of golden retrievers and dogs affected by breed-specific legislation regarding aggressive behaviour’ Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 3:3. pp 134 – 140. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/> Schalke, E. Ott, S. Von Gaertner, A.M. Hackbarth, H. Mittmann, A. ‘Is breed-specific legislation justified? Study of the results of the temperament test of Lower Saxony’. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 3:3. pp 97 – 103. Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/> 24
  25. 25. Seksel, K. 2002. ‘Report to the NSW Department of Local Government on Breed Specific Legislation Issues Relating to Control of Dangerous Dogs’. NSW Department of Local Government, Retrieved 1 Oct 2009. <http://www.dlg.nsw.gov.au/> Watson, L. 2004. ‘Does Breed Specific Legislation Reduce Dog Aggression on Humans and other Animals? A Review Paper’. Endangered Dog Breed Association of Australia. Retrieved September 1st 2009. <http://www.edba.org.au/> 7.0 Appendices Appendix A: Companion Animals Act 1998 extracts Division 5 Special restrictions for other dogs 55 Interpretation 25
  26. 26. (1) The following dogs are restricted dogs for the purposes of this Act: (a) American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier, (b) Japanese tosa, (c) dogo Argentino, (d) fila Brasileiro, 56 Owner of restricted dog must comply with control requirements (1) The owner of a restricted dog must ensure that each of the following requirements is complied with: (a) Desexing In the case of an existing restricted dog, the dog must be desexed within 28 days after the relevant date. In the case of any other restricted dog born after the relevant date, the dog must be desexed within 3 months of being born. (a1) Enclosure requirements While the dog is on property on which the dog is ordinarily kept, the dog must be kept in an enclosure that complies with the requirements prescribed by the regulations. In the case of an existing restricted dog, or a restricted dog born within 3 months after the relevant date, the owner has 6 months from the relevant date to comply with this paragraph. Note. A certificate of compliance in relation to the prescribed enclosure must be obtained by the owner of the dog—see section 58H. (a2) Until such time as the requirement under paragraph (a1) is complied with in relation to the dog, the dog must, while on property on which it is ordinarily kept, be kept in an enclosure that is sufficient to restrain the dog and prevent a child from having access to the dog. (b) The dog must not at any time be in the sole charge of a person under the age of 18 years. (c) One or more signs must be displayed on that property showing the words “Warning Dangerous Dog” in letters clearly visible from the boundaries of the property on which the dog is ordinarily kept or, if the regulations provide for the signs required by this paragraph, complying with the regulations. (c1) Distinctive collar must be worn The dog must at all times wear a collar of the kind prescribed by the regulations. (d) Dog must be kept on lead and be muzzled Whenever the dog is outside its enclosure, the dog: (i) must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person, and (ii) must be muzzled in a manner that is sufficient to prevent it from biting any person or animal. For the purposes of this paragraph, a dog is not considered to be under the effective control of a person if the person has more than 2 dogs (one of which is the restricted dog) under his or her control at the one time. (h) Registration of dog In the case of a dog declared by an authorised officer of a council under Division 6 of this Part to be a restricted dog, the dog must, regardless of its age, be registered (if not already registered) within 7 days after it is declared to be a restricted dog. 57 Restricted dog may be seized if control requirements not complied with (4) Seizure after transition period If, after the transition period, an authorised officer of a council is satisfied that any of the requirements of section 56 have not been complied with in relation to a restricted dog, the authorised officer may seize the dog. (b) the council or the pound operator, as the case requires, may destroy the dog. 26
  27. 27. 57A Prohibition on selling restricted dog or proposed restricted dog (1) A person who sells, or advertises the sale of, a restricted dog or proposed restricted dog is guilty of an offence. Note. The term “sell” extends to the transfer of owner by any means, including by gift. (2) A person does not commit an offence under this section by reason only of surrendering a dog to a council pound or an approved animal welfare organisation. Note. A restricted dog that is surrendered to a council pound or an approved animal welfare organisation cannot be sold. 57B Prohibition on accepting ownership of restricted dog or proposed restricted dog (1) A person who accepts ownership of a restricted dog or proposed restricted dog is guilty of an offence. 57C Prohibition on breeding restricted dog or proposed restricted dog A person: (a) who causes or permits a restricted dog or proposed restricted dog to breed with any other dog, or (b) who advertises that a restricted dog or proposed restricted dog is available for breeding, is guilty of an offence. Division 6 Declaration of dogs as restricted dogs 58A Notice of intention to declare dog to be restricted dog (1) If an authorised officer of a council is of the opinion that a dog: (a) is of a breed or kind of dog referred to in section 55 (1) (a)–(d1), or (b) is a cross-breed of any such breed or kind of dog, the authorised officer may give notice to the owner of the dog of the officer’s intention to declare the dog to be a restricted dog. (a) the requirements that the owner of the dog will be required to comply with if the declaration is made, and (b) the procedures associated with obtaining a breed or temperament assessment (as referred to in section 58C) in relation to the dog. Division 7 Other provisions relating to dangerous and restricted dogs 58G Power to seize and destroy dangerous or restricted dog in certain circumstances (1) Seizing dangerous or restricted dog that attacks An authorised officer may seize a dangerous or restricted dog if the dog attacks or bites a person or animal (other than vermin) without provocation. (1A) Seizing dangerous dog if certain control requirements not complied with An authorised officer may seize a dangerous dog if the requirements referred to in section 51 (1) (c), (c1) or (e) are not complied with in relation to the dog on at least 2 separate occasions over any period of 12 months (whether or not each occasion relates to the same requirement). 58H Certificate of compliance required for dangerous and restricted dog enclosures (1) A person must not own a dangerous dog or restricted dog unless a certificate of compliance under this section is in force in relation to the enclosure in which the dog is required to be kept under section 51 (1) (c) or 56 (1) (a1) (as the case requires). 27
  28. 28. Appendix B: Companion Animals Regulation 2008 Part 4 Dangerous or restricted dogs 24 Enclosure requirements for dangerous or restricted dogs (1) For the purposes of sections 51 (1) (c) and 56 (1) (a1) of the Act, the requirements set out in subclauses (2)–(4) are prescribed as the requirements that must be complied with in relation to an enclosure for a dangerous or restricted dog. 28
  29. 29. (2) The enclosure must: (a) be fully enclosed, constructed and maintained in such a way so that the dog is not able to dig or otherwise escape under, over or through the enclosure, and (b) be constructed in such a way so that a person cannot have access to it without the assistance of an occupier of the property who is above the age of 18 years, and (c) be designed to prevent children from having access to the enclosure, and (d) not be located on the property in such a way so that people are required to pass through the enclosure to gain access to other parts of the property, and (e) have a minimum height of 1.8 m and a minimum width of 1.8 m, and (f) have an area of not less than 10 square metres for each dangerous or restricted dog kept on the property, and (g) have walls that are fixed to the floor and constructed to be no more than 50 mm from the floor, and (h) have walls, a fixed covering and a gate that are constructed of: (i) brick, timber, iron or similar solid materials, or (ii) mesh that complies with subclause (4), or (iii) a combination of the materials referred to in subparagraphs (i) and (ii), and (i) have a floor that is constructed of sealed concrete and graded to fall to a drain for the removal of effluent, and (j) provide a weatherproof sleeping area of sufficient dimensions to enable each dangerous or restricted dog kept on the property to shelter from the weather. (3) Any gate to the enclosure must: (a) contain a self-closing and self-latching mechanism that enables the enclosure to be securely locked when the dog is in the enclosure, and (b) be kept locked when the dog is in the enclosure, and (c) display the warning sign referred to in clause 26. (4) Mesh used in the construction of an enclosure must be: (a) chain mesh manufactured from at least 3.15 mm wire to form a maximum mesh spacing of 50 mm, or (b) weldmesh manufactured from at least 4 mm wire with a maximum mesh spacing of 50 mm. 26 Warning signs for dangerous or restricted dogs (1) For the purposes of sections 51 (1) (d) and 56 (1) (c) of the Act, a sign or signs complying with subclause (2) must be situated so that the words “Warning Dangerous Dog” are legible to any person immediately before entering the property by way of any gate, door or other entry point. (2) Each such sign must: (a) be no smaller than 40 cm × 40 cm, and (b) be made of durable materials, and (c) show the words “Warning Dangerous Dog” in letters that are, in any case, at least 50 mm high and 10 mm wide. 27 Distinctive collars for dangerous or restricted dogs (1) For the purposes of sections 51 (1) (d1) and 56 (1) (c1) of the Act, a collar is of the prescribed kind if: (a) it consists of red stripes alternatively spaced with yellow stripes, each stripe being 25 mm wide and set diagonal to the rim of the collar at an angle of 45 degrees, and (b) all of the stripes of at least 1 of the 2 colours are sufficiently reflective so as to be visible in low light, and (c) it is made of durable materials, and (d) it is able to be securely fastened, and (e) it has a device or other facility that enables it to be attached to a leash, and (f) it has a minimum width of: (i) 25 mm for a dog weighing less than 20 kg, or (ii) 40 mm for a dog weighing between 20 kg and 40 kg, or (iii) 50 mm for a dog weighing more than 40 kg. 29
  30. 30. (2) A dog must not wear any such collar unless the dog is a dangerous dog or a restricted dog. Appendix C: Survey Media Influence and Breed Specific Legislation This survey is being conducted between the 5th – 15th October 2009. Any person of any age or background is welcome to complete the survey. No identifying personal information is required, ensuring your complete anonymity. 30
  31. 31. The principle aim of this research project is to discover whether the media has an influence over the public and their perception of specific issues, namely Breed Specific Legislation. As well as this, it is endeavoured to discover if there are other influencing factors which shape perceptions including; background, education level, age, sex, and life experience. If there are any concerns or queries please feel free to contact the researcher, Michelle Butcher by email on either michellebutchermb@hotmail.com or 16781737@student.uws.edu.au Please complete and email the survey to the above addresses by the 15th October 2009. Thankyou for your assistance. Breed Specific Legislation is legislation that bans or places restrictions on the ownership of specific breeds of dog which have been deemed dangerous. Please Answer ALL Questions ü Please copy this tick and paste in front of your answer. 1. Which age group do you □ Under 20 belong to? □ 21 – 25 □ 26 – 30 □ 31 – 35 □ Over 35, Please Specify_________ 2. What is your gender? □ Male □ Female 3. What country were you □ Australia 31
  32. 32. born in? □ Other, Please Specify __________________________ 4. What country were your □ Australia parents born in? □ Other, Please Specify __________________________ 5. Do you currently? □ Live at home with parents □ Board □ Rent □ Own □ Other, please specify _______________________________ 6. What is your level of □ High School □ Tertiary education? □ Undergraduate □ Postgraduate □ Other, please specify _______________________________________ 7. What level of education □ High School □ Tertiary did your parents achieve? □ Undergraduate □ Postgraduate □ Other, please specify _______________________________________ 8. Do you currently? □ Study full time □ Study part time (tick all that apply) □ Work full time □ Work part time □ Unemployed 9. Have you ever worked in □ No □ Yes the animal welfare If yes, are you still currently working in the industry? industry? □ Yes □ No How long have you currently or previously worked in the industry? Please Specify__________ 10. How often would you □ Daily say that you read a □ 2 – 3 times weekly newspaper, be it □ 4 – 5 times weekly electronically or in hard copy form? □ Never 12. How often would you □ Daily 32
  33. 33. say that you watch the □ 2 – 3 times weekly news? □ 4 – 5 times weekly □ Never 13. Do you think the media influences your Strongly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Strongly perception of issues? Agree Disagree 14. Do you think the media focuses reports on Strongly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Strongly issues that may be Agree Disagree controversial? 15. Have you seen any media reports on dog □ No □ Yes attacks? 16. Did these reports mention the breed Always 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Never which had attacked? 17. Were these reports accompanied by a Always 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Never picture of the dog that had attacked? 18. Have you previously □ No □ Yes owned a dog? 19. Do you currently own a □ No □ Yes dog? If yes how many? ____________________ 20. Have you previously heard of Breed □ No □ Yes □ Unsure Specific Legislation? 21. Where did you first □ News media □ Book □ Friend / family learn of BSL? □ Social networking site □ Website □ Other, please specify______________________ 22. Have you previously □ No □ Yes □ Unsure owned a dog that is If yes how many? ____________________ restricted by BSL? 23. Do you currently own a □ No □ Yes □ Unsure breed that is restricted If yes how many? ____________________ by BSL? 24. Do you believe the 33
  34. 34. media has played a role Strongly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Strongly in the government Agree Disagree implementing BSL? 25. Do you believe BSL is an effective tool to reduce Strongly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Strongly problems associated Agree Disagree with aggressive dogs? 26. Do you believe BSL will solve the problems Strongly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Strongly associated with Agree Disagree aggressive dogs? 27. What factors do you believe contribute to a dog showing aggression? A: Fear Agree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Disagree B: Pain Agree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Disagree C: Nervousness Agree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Disagree D: Born Aggressive Agree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Disagree E: Untrained Agree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Disagree F: Naughty Agree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Disagree G: Dominance Agree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Disagree 28. Please select all the □ Bull Terrier □ Chihuahua breeds that you think □ Presa Canario □ Affenpinscher are classed as □ Rottweiler □ Shiba Inu restricted under BSL in Australia □ Japanese Tosa □ Maltese Terrier □ Bull Mastiff □ Dogue De Bordeaux □ Akita □ Pit Bull Terrier 34
  35. 35. □ Dogo Argentino □ Neopolitan Mastiff □ Fila Brasilerio □ Doberman □ American Pit Bull Terrier 29. Do you think it is possible to accurately identify a dog’s breed Strongly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Strongly based on physical Agree Disagree appearance alone? 30. Please identify which breeds of dog which you believe are restricted, based on physical appearance, from those pictured below. □ □ □ □ □ □ 35
  36. 36. □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ Thankyou for participating in this survey Appendix D: Breeds used in Question 30 of Survey 30. Please identify which breeds of dog which you believe are restricted, based on physical appearance, from those pictured below. Restricted / Banned breeds names are in red. Presa Canario American Bandogge Mastiff American Bull Dogue de 36
  37. 37. Bordeaux American Bulldog American Staffordshire Terrier Australian Bandogge Boerboel Bull Mastiff Bullypit (American Bulldog / American Pit Bull Terrier Hybrid) Dogue De Bordeaux Dogo Argentino Fila Brasileiro Guatamalan Bull Terrier Pitweiler (Pit Bull Terrier Ultimate Mastiff (Dogue de / Rottweiler Hybrid) Bordeaux /Neapolitan Mastiff Hybrid) 37

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