Pit bull classification threatens pet's life
August 12, 2008 12:00am
RUSTY the dog has an identity crisis. The Willis family mutt looks like something he's not and in the field of canine pedigree that can be dangerous.
At issue is the classification of american pit bull terriers, a "dangerous breed" banned by councils all over Queensland.
In 2005, animal controllers from Redcliffe City Council applied their dangerous dog criteria to Rusty, and put him on death row.
But Rusty's owners, convinced he was an overgrown mastiff with a pink nose, took the battle all the way to the Supreme Court.
The council backed down. Rusty avoided the needle. But that was not the end of it.
Late last year, the Willises swapped bayside Redcliffe for the rolling hills of Gympie and a new cast of animal controllers came up with the same decision: Rusty was an american pit bull terrier.
Daryn Willis was astounded.
"They've got to stop this, it's crap," he said. "This is about my little girl and her beloved dog. He's a family dog."
The Willises' problem traces back to the fact the court was not required to decide what breed Rusty was.
A similar case a year later - Dino Da Fre v Logan City Council - reached Beenleigh Magistrates Court. Mr Da Fre, the owner of a dog also called Rusty and on death row, was fighting against the 22-point breed identification test.
The council could not prove Rusty was a pit bull but again, the court was not required to rule on the validity of the test.
So as Gympie animal control officers circled in on Rusty, even using police to approach the dog on one occasion, Mr Willis was concerned they were using the same 22-point test relied on by the Redcliffe and Logan councils.
Mr Willis said his family was suffering "terribly" but was prepared to return to the Supreme Court if the council tried to destroy Rusty.
"We want it in writing that Rusty will never ever be accused of being an american pit bull again, otherwise it won't matter where we go, this is going to happen all over again," Mr Willis said.
Gympie Regional Council chief executive Ken Mason said he would meet with council officers to finalise the issue, which has dragged on for most of the year.
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/stor ... 72,00.html
Bless the Bullys