Friday, September 9, 2011

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, from

Ayen Chol's family told 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 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.

Mr McClelland told 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.

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