639 24 March 1983 LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
The Hon. J.R. CORNWALL (Minister of Health): I move: That this Bill be now read a second time. The Alsatian Dogs Act, 1934-1980, was introduced in 1934 to prevent the possibility of German Shepherd dogs getting out of control, breeding with dingoes and becoming a threat to the sheep industry. The Act prohibits the keeping of Alsatian or German Shepherd dogs in certain parts of South Australia. The prohibition applies within the pastoral areas of the State generally north, north-east and north-west of Port Augusta, the area of the District Council of Hawker, the pastoral areas within the boundaries of the City of Whyalla, and on Kangaroo Island.
In 1980 the Act was amended to allow interstate travellers to obtain permits to take their German Shepherd dogs with them when travelling through the prohibited areas in the north. In addition, a number of townships have now been exempted from the provisions of the Act
The restrictions against German Shepherds have recently been called into question. Little evidence has been found to back a common claim that German Shepherds could breed with dingoes and become a danger to livestock. The C.S.I.R.O. reported that, theoretically, inter-breeding could occur but that trial matings have been unsuccessful. There are now a number of breeds in South Australia such as Belgian sheepdogs, Groenendaels and Norwegian Elkhounds, which are similar in size and conformation to German Shepherds, as well as other large dogs such as Dobermanns and Rottweilers. These breeds do not suffer the same restrictions. Since the lifting of the prohibition in the northern townships the Government has not received any reports that it has been to the detriment of the pastoral industry.
The Dog Control Act now provides a number of provisions for the effective control of dogs throughout the State. In particular, section 46 (2) provides:
The owner or occupier of any enclosed paddock, field, yard or other place in which any horse, cattle, sheep, swine, goats or poultry (in this section referred to as 'livestock') are confined, or any person acting under the authority of that owner or occupier, may lawfully shoot or otherwise destroy any dog that is found therein and is not accompanied by some person.
South Australia is now the only State with a specific Act that discriminates against German Shepherd dogs and their owners. Clause 1 is formal. Clause 2 repeals the Alsatian Dogs Act, 1934-1980.
The Hon. M.B. CAMERON secured the adjournment of the debate.