American Staffordshire Terrier ban debate after baby dies on NSW central coast


The tragic death of a newborn baby who was mutilated to death by the family’s dog in NSW has reignited debate over how to deal with ‘dangerous’ dog breeds – but canine experts say Banning them is not the solution.

A small coastal community is in mourning after a five week old baby was tragically killed after being attacked by an American Staffordshire Terrier in the town of Kariong on the central New South Wales coast over the weekend.

The six-year-old dog, who was de-sexed and registered, was later euthanized, with police investigating his involvement in an earlier attack on a neighbor’s dog last month.

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According to data from the Office of Local Government, American Staffordshire Terriers were responsible for more than 200 attacks in all parts of NSW councils in the last quarter, the highest number reported for any breed, the latest tragedy having sparked new calls to ban the breed. .

Figures show that more than 1,200 dog attacks were reported statewide during the same period, with the Central Coast Council region being a hotspot for attacks, with 71 recorded during that time.

As the debate rages online over the most effective way to manage particular dog breeds, two major organizations have called for a different approach to banning “dangerous” breeds.

Dogs NSW spokesperson Brian Crump said it was problematic to tar some breeds with the same brush.

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“It comes down to socializing and training the dog,” Mr. Crump told

“I don’t think (the ban) is the answer, because there are many, many (American staff) who never get in trouble.

“Even a small dog can be a problem if it isn’t socialized or trained properly. It’s just that (American staffies) are big and powerful dogs, but my advice would be not to leave children unsupervised with any pets.

In New South Wales there are five dog breeds that are Restricted which means they cannot be sold or donated including American Pit Bulls or Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentino (Argentinian fighting dogs), Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian fighting dogs) and Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario Dogs.

Mr Crump said the issue of euthanizing aggressive dogs was something to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

“If you have an animal that has killed then you probably don’t want to continue with that animal and I can understand the argument for euthanasia,” he said.

“It’s hard because you look at the guilt – did the dog know what he was doing? Did he think he was playing with a toy, for example?

“I guess you should do this on a case-by-case basis, and if an animal is aggressive, remove it where it is not in contact with young people or euthanize it.”

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A spokesperson for the NSW RSPCA said a longer-term solution was needed to prevent dog attacks.

“The RSPCA does not believe breed specific legislation is effective in preventing or reducing dog attacks or in protecting the public from dangerous dogs,” the spokesperson said.

“Each dog must be evaluated on the basis of his behavior. “

The animal welfare organization said proper socialization of dogs with humans and other animals, training of dog owners and early intervention measures to control threatening dogs were essential.

Mr Crump echoed the call for better education and training for dog owners, with Dogs NSW being one of the main advocates for including dog ownership education in the curriculum. ‘NSW Primary Studies.

“We would like to see an elementary school pet ownership education program for lower elementary school students,” he said.

“Children need to be educated on how to care for a dog and what a dog is likely to do.

“We need a debate sooner and it’s a debate about how people educate and train their dogs – and we need to have it before there are incidents like this.”

Hot spots for dog attacks in NSW (January-March 2021)

Central Coast Council – 71 attacks

Macquarie Lake Council – 70 attacks

Wollongong Council – 64 attacks

Shoalhaven Council – 57 attacks

North Beach Council – 48 attacks

Dog attacks reported in NSW by breed (January-March 2021)

American Staffordshire Terrier – 204 attacks

Bull Terrier (Staffordshire) – 100 attacks

Australian Cattle Dog – 70 attacks

German Shepherd – 60 attacks

Border Collie – 37 attacks

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