Qld bans five dangerous dog breeds

The Sunshine State has banned five “dangerous’’ dog breeds and toughened penalties for owners if their dog attacks.

The Agriculture and Fisheries and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 passed the Queensland parliament on Thursday, tightening the leash on dogo argentinos, fila brasileiros, japanese tosas, pit bull terriers, and the perro de presa canario or presa canario.

Tougher penalties include up to three years jail and an $108,000 fine if an owner encourages an attack when the dog inflicts serious injures or kills a person. Failing to control your dog now brings sterner penalties, including two years in jail if the animal attacks.

“Higher penalties, up to and including imprisonment, are needed to support community safety and emphasise the importance of keeping dogs under control to prevent attacks,” it says in the legislation’s explanatory note.

More than two-thirds of public respondents (69 per cent) supported the ban.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said: “Queenslanders told us they wanted tougher laws to combat dangerous dogs and the Miles government has delivered.

“We will keep working with the community to get the message out about these new laws and help people with at-risk dogs to comply to make the community safer,” the minister said.

People who currently own one of the now-banned dogs do not have to forfeit their animal.

The affected breeds were already subject to restricted breed permits.

Importing these breeds into Australia is banned, but states and territories have different desexing and breeding rules.

In Queensland parliament on Thursday, LNP MP Graham Perrett said: “It took four dog attacks in one week last April and media pressure on the former premier to get the minister to adequately respond.”

Lockyer LNP MP Jim McDonald said “many local governments and the RSPCA” had concerns about the legislation based on similar and now-altered Victorian laws.

“Even DNA testing was inconclusive because of the crossbred nature of some of these dogs. It is very hard to get a purebred DNA marker for these animals,” Mr McDonald said.

Labor MP Chris Whiting said Lizzie Wingrove, 15 of Bancroft, was in the parliament to see the bill passed. Lizzie underwent facial surgery after an attack seven years prior.

Her mother Veronica “fought to get improvements in the law so that in such situations her family is safe and secure and to make sure that other families are safe and secure”, Mr Whiting said.

The dog that bit Lizzie was a neo mastiff. It took a chunk out of her cheek, which required plastic surgery.

Twice the courts ruled the neo mastiff should be destroyed, but the dog’s owners appealed and a third court ruled the dog should be allowed to return home, to the same street the Wingroves lived on.

The Queensland RSPCA previously said it did not support banning specific dog breeds when the five breeds were not purebred in Australia.

Blanket bans did not consider the complexities of dog behaviour and the role of socialisation, rearing, training, owner behaviour, environment and circumstances, the organisation previously said.

“As such, we do not believe that breed-specific legislation is effective in preventing or reducing dog attacks or in protecting the public from dangerous dogs,” an RSPCA Queensland spokesperson said last year.

The organisation was approached for comment on Friday.

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