21 JULY 2006 Daily Telegraph (NSW)
Can Humans Silence Wild Dogs?

Should we ban dangerous dogs or breed them out altogether, asks Evelyn Yamine

Little Tyra Kuehne never stood a chance. Savagely mauled by three hunting dogs, the four-year-old yesterday died just hours after being attacked in a neighbour's backyard.
Her death has again thrown open the debate on whether dogs are natural born killers or trained to attack.
The State Government has banned five breeds of dogs considered to be the most dangerous, with laws put in place to stop the breeding and sale of these animals.
Pit bull terriers, American pit bulls, Japanese tosas and Argentinian and Brazilian fighting dogs are classed as dangerous dogs but these breeds were not involved in the two dog attack fatalities in NSW this year.
The long-term plan is to eradicate these breeds, thereby reducing the number of serious or fatal dog attacks.
Many canine groups have spoken out against the breed-specific legislation (BSL), arguing it does not work.

So the question is, how do we prevent, or at least minimise, the number of dog attacks?
Veterinarian behaviourist Dr Linda Beer believes BSL is not the answer because it has not worked anywhere in the world.

Dr Beer, who works for the Sydney Animal Behaviour Service in Seaforth, said the behaviour of dogs is shaped by a combination of genetics, prior learning and environment.

Dr Beer said current legislation does not work because there were bad dogowners who were likely to ignore the laws.
She believed responsible dog owners were being penalised because of the actions of irresponsible ones.
Dr Beer said education and parental supervision were the most important factors in preventing dog attacks.

Master dog trainer Bryan Edwards agreed. Mr Edwards, from Bark Busters dog training company, runs educational programs for students to help them learn how to act around dogs and to promote dog safety.

Dogs NSW (Royal NSW Canine Council) president Keith Irwin said owners were responsible for moulding their pets' temperaments.
Dogs NSW deals with more than 180 breeds and its primary code of ethics was to breed "sound temperament" dogs.

Endangered Dog Breeds Association of Australia president Linda Watson said aggression was normal canine behaviour and could be shown by a dog of any breed or type.

Stephen Wisby has had to watch his son Jordan deal with the trauma of being attacked by a pit bull terrier in April last year.