LAST month's fatal dog attack in Victoria, where a pit bull mastiff mauled a four-year-old girl to death and attacked others in her family, is starting to have repercussions, with two councils announcing yesterday that they were declaring a month's amnesty for people to hand in the restricted breeds.
Campbelltown City Council announced that people had until the end of this month to hand in pit bulls, American pit bulls and other restricted breeds.
If the dogs were registered, owners would not pay the normal fee to the pound to take the dog. In most cases they will be put down. If the dogs were unregistered, there would still be no fee and no questions would be asked. But after September 30, the normal sanctions of the Companion Animals Act, including fines or even imprisonment, would apply.
The amnesty is extended to people who are unsure whether their dog is a restricted breed or not. Campbelltown mayor Paul Lake said council had a responsibility to ensure such a tragic event in Victoria was not repeated.
''Pit bull owners must comply with strict requirements or else face serious penalties or even imprisonment,'' he said. ''The onus is on the owner to help ensure the safety of residents and community members.''
A spokesman for Wollondilly Council, neighbouring Campbelltown, said a similar amnesty was being offered in the council area.
''This is the first time we are doing it,'' he said. ''We are doing it partly in response to what happened in Melbourne.''
Campbelltown council has said after the amnesty it will strictly impose the law which includes powers to impound dangerous breeds and fine owners $55,000.
Campbelltown has 160 registered pit bulls and owners are not compelled to surrender the animals. But the act states animals from restricted breeds cannot be sold, acquired or bred, meaning eventually the city area will be free of such animals.
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