Changes to the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 have clarified that American Staffordshire terriers are not ‘restricted dogs’ 01 October 2010
This follows a Supreme Court case in April this year which ruled the American Staffordshire involved was the same as a stricted American pit bull.
The Amendments became law on Monday, 20 September, 2010 and apply as if they had been in force from 6 April 2010. This ensures there is no gap between the Supreme Court's decision and the Amendments.
Along with clarifying that Amstaffs and pit bulls are not the same breed of dog, the Amendments expand provisions relating to identification so vets may issue certification as evidence of any dog breed, not just restricted dogs which they could only do previously. Pedigree certificates issued by the Australian National Kennel Council and any of its member bodies such as Dogs Queensland can also now be accepted as evidence of a dog's breed. In addition, it has been the intent for the restricted dog provisions of the Act to apply only to pure bred restricted dogs. To clarify this issue, the Act has been amended to ensure that restricted dogs are defined as only pure-bred dogs. This maintains consistency with the Commonwealth, South Australia, Victoria and now Tasmanian legislation covering restricted dogs.
The Amendments will not compromise community safety as owners of all dogs, including Amstaff owners, will continue to be held accountable for the behaviour of their dogs and face the full weight of the law if their dogs behave badly.
In Queensland, any dog that bites a person can face fines of up to $30,000 under the Act, with Councils able to seize the offending dog and declare it as dangerous. The owners of dogs who cause fear are liable to fines of up to $2,000, with Councils able to seize the offending dog and declare it as menacing. Special provisions apply to animals that are declared as dangerous or menacing, such as requirements for muzzling in public and their enclosure.
If your Council needs further advice on this matter, please contact your Department of Infrastructure and Planning Regional Office, or contact the Office of Local Government.