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Dog Control Bill passed with overwhelming support

Dog Control Bill passed with overwhelming support

New Zealand will be a safer place for children with the passage today of the Dog Control Amendment Bill, Local Government Chris Carter said.

The Bill passed its third reading in Parliament this afternoon with support from all political parties except Act.

"For twenty years New Zealand society has agonised over what to do about fighting breeds of dogs. The Government has stopped agonising and done something about it with the Dog Control Amendment Bill, " Mr Carter said.

"Four fighting breeds – American Pit Bull Terriers, Dogo Argentinos, Brazilian Filas and Japanese Tosas – will have to be muzzled in public in future and the importing of any more of them is prohibited.

"With this Bill we have laid out a new inventory of tools for local councils to use to crack down on unregistered dogs, roaming dogs, and irresponsible owners. Fines and penalties have been increased for erring owners, and sensible steps have been taken to enable councils to take a more preventative approach to keeping children clear of uncontrolled dogs in public spaces," Mr Carter said.

"The Government has also moved to improve information about dogs. The 74 databases of registrations and attacks maintained by councils are to replaced with one national database, and microchipping is to be gradually introduced for new puppies after 2006 to enhance dog indentification.

"As promised, this has been a significant and comprehensive overhaul of the legislation governing dog control. We have sought to improve public safety while protecting the right and ability of New Zealand families to own and enjoy dogs.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Carolina Anderson and her family for their effort and courage in highlighting some of the issues with dog control. The Andersons have taken a tragic dog attack and turned it into something beneficial for New Zealand society," Mr Carter said.

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