An Update from the Antipodes on the Horror that is Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

There have been five deaths due to dog attacks in the history of New Zealand.

The first was a farmer killed by his working dog in 1969.

Following that, in 1997, a pig hunter died after being attacked by his hunting dog.  The three incidents since have involved Malamutes, a Mastiff and a couple of Staffy mixes.

Typically, as per BSL legislation around the world and after an attack involving another breed, our politicians singled out Pit Bulls, Dogos, Filas and Tosas as dangerous dogs and legislated accordingly, writes Karen Batchelor, Media Spokesperson/Registrar for TheAmerican Pit Bull Terrier Association Inc. (NZ)

No matter that we are a population of some 4.4m people keeping some 500,000 registered dogs today, with only five deaths in the colonized history of the country attributed to attacks by dogs, we have had Breed Specific Legislation inflicted upon us despite the science and anything remotely resembling common sense…or the fact that no deaths here have involved the slated breeds.

As a result, anything vaguely Pit Bull-shaped is automatically subject to classification as a menacing dog (along with the other four breeds including last year the addition of the Presas).
Any animals fitting the description according to a ‘checklist’ and finding themselves unclaimed in a council pound or SPCA is subject to a no-exception euthanasia policy. Temperament:  irrelevant.

That checklist (example: is full of errors, ignorance and misinformation. Yet this un-researched, inaccurate, misspelled, cut-and-pasted piece of plagiarism from some breed ‘standard’ is used to decide whether any medium sized, short coated, muscular dog with a boxy head lives or dies.

It is, of course, an outrage.

But it gets very much worse for New Zealand.

The face of the SPCA in this country, Bob Kerridge (CEO Auckland SPCA/National President RNZSPCA), is widely quoted in our mainstream media claiming that “all Pit Bulls are born bad” and advising our population not to take them into their homes.

Consequently, the breed is too often attractive only to those wanting them for all of the wrong reasons and subjected to the worst abuse and cruelty, and at the other end of the spectrum invariably passed over for adoption by a frightened and misled public.

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The discussion with Drayton Michaels at Dog Star Daily gives a good back story along with some of our dismal kill rates:

The RNZSPCA infers their disagreement with killing dogs for having ‘the look’ but in fact for most SPCAs a red nose is enough even if the subject is just 4 weeks old.  Considering the number of breeds that express the ‘Dudley nose’ that is appalling.

SPCAs the length and breadth of this country refuse to take dogs of ‘the type’ into their facilities and local council pounds routinely euthanase them.

Having thoroughly researched the American Pit Bull Terrier Registry dating back to the first dogs imported into this country from the mid-eighties, i.e. some 30,000 genuine dogs with traceable bloodlines and countless cross breeds put on the ground since, and not one fatality attributed to the breed, we can fairly ask the question: how can Kerridge et al justify their actions?

In such positions of influence and power surely it behooves such people to justify their decisions and the consequent fallout for dogs who have done nothing other than to have a particular look about them, and subsequently lost and continue to lose their lives.

We would also ask: What sort of vet euthanases healthy dogs of sound temperament on the basis of such a widely discredited and unscientific policy?

Isn’t a vet’s sworn oath “First, do no harm”?

Therefore, we are calling them all to account.

The American Pit Bull Terrier Association Inc. (NZ) and SPCA Watch (NZ) have set up a petition and invite all Pit Bull lovers, look-alike owners and plain right-thinking people to support, sign and share our petition to shine the light upon this awful policy that is killing so many blameless dogs in New Zealand (many without a drop of Pit Bull blood in their veins) and those proponents of it who have some explaining to do!

Around the world, BSL has been proven to be an expensive, unscientific and ineffective approach to improving public safety. It’s way past time it was exposed and extinguished.

Please Sign The Petition:

Further Reading:

Pit Bulls: Facts, Myths & Media Hype

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Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine is the the online editor at She is an experienced dog owner and professional writer who lives with her two beloved dogs, Mabel and Charlie.


  1. 5 deaths is a misleading statistic. How many attacks, injuries and dog v dog deaths have been caused by Pit Bulls? Remember that the legislation came into being following a series of horrific attacks by Pit Bulls on children. None died, but all were left scarred for life. Yesterday we had an attack on a young family just walking home from school. 2 Pit Bulls attacked a dad and his kids, bailing up the kids and killing their pet dog. Where is that in your stats?

  2. i would rather leave a loaded shotgun in the lounge with the children than a pitbull. at least the gun needs someone to pull the trigger..a pitbull will go off with no trigger required

    1. Dazza you have a very closed mind! Pit Bulls are not monsters! They are dogs! They are not naturally aggressive towards humans. Its humans that make them behave badly.

  3. These people live in a dream where ever person is good as them and looks after there dog. that is not the reality and the hundreds of uncared for abandoned dogs that there are no homes for. They deserve more than to be left to roam or languish for ever in pounds, at whos expense? there’s mainly of course. The true problem is a people problem the socail background of a dog owner has more to do with a dogs behaviour than most other factors, animal control officers will always be an easy target for abuse from these members of society. The honest truth is they do the best they can with the resources they are given and attempt to keep the streets safe for anyone. Ask any other dog owner how frightening and upsetting it is to witness your own pet being atacked in the street as your out minding your own business. These people who allow this are offenders and should be treated as so. If you wish to bash some one verbaly try the offendes the real problem!

    1. The SPCA here in NZ has a ‘NO PIT BULL policy. These dogs have no chance. It does not matter what temperament they are, they are destroyed! Its wrong!!

  4. Its heartbreaking what is happening here in New Zealand with Pit Bulls and their look-a-likes. Bob Kerridge should not be allowed to continue his reign!

  5. As always the Pitbull Activists are overdosing on hyperbole and sensationalism. NZ SPCA’s operate autonomously from one region to the next and many do not discriminate against Pitbulls. I have personally seen even the redest of red nose Pitbulls cared for in NZ SPCA’s. And some regional council’s will rehome them too, if they can find a satisfactory placement for them – which is no easy task!

    Pitbull’s that end up in SPCA care and being impounded are not usually loving family pets that have been brought up well by good owners. Those dogs don’t end up impounded or surrendered or seized for being abused. The dogs that end up in these places usually have undesirable owners who don’t care for their dogs or treat them well. Can these dogs be rehabilitated? Maybe, but where is the money for this going to come from? If they are euthenased then it is often so they don’t live their lives out in a cage or risk being rehomed to more unsuitable owners. That is the cold hard facts of the matter.

    Neither the SPCA or Bob Kerridge is to blame for the fact that undesirable owners want these dogs. If that was true then Pitbulls wouldn’t have the reputation they do worldwide where no one has heard of Bob Kerridge.

    The fact is for some reason these dogs have become the ‘go to’ dog for thugs, nationally and internationally. I don’t believe they deserve their reputation or that BSL is a sound idea – but their reputation is NOT the fault of the SPCA in NZ or of one man.

    Karen Batchelor (the author of the above article) has an ongoing hatred of the NZ SPCA and Bob Kerridge and continually attacks them and blames them for the sad lot of Pitbulls in this country. The NZ SPCA did not bring in BSL – it was a political decision made by the government at the time, and Bob Kerridge has publicly gone on record saying that he is opposed to BSL and that it doesn’t work.

    Karen has been told many times that in order for BSL to be repealed she needs to work with politicians and not continually attack animal welfare agencies, but she does not listen and continues her ranting which tend to make Pitbull activists look bad and uneducated. Anyone who disagree’s with her views is labelled a ‘Pitbull hater’.

    If Pitbull activists in NZ are really sincere and clear headed about their desire to see BSL repealed then they need to stop badmouthing animal welfare groups and start to work to educate politicians and the general public about this breed.

  6. mr kerridge is wrong to put all Pit Bulls as bad. how about rapists, murderers, i feel and think those folks should be killed, not Pit Bulls.
    most folks don’t have the faintest idea of how to take care of or socialize a dog.
    so the poor dogs are killed for bad behavior.

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