I'm pretty sure if you talk to farmers, particularly those who live on the urban fringe, all kinds of dogs are allowed to roam free because people seem to have this notion that because they are in the country their dogs don't have to be confined to their property.
BSL will never stop stupid owners from having dogs that harass livestock or dogs that bite people. I see some really scary stuff at my breed specific dog club and the owners are just completely oblivious. Some of the dogs there are just so nasty that I would not touch them with a 10 foot pole.
I think our breed survey should do more to test the true character and nerve of the breed. The temperament test is an absolute joke. It's essentially getting your dog to walk with you through a small 'crowd' of talking people. I'm pretty sure that any dog who has been down a busy sidewalk or gone to the shops should be able to cope with that. You have to have a pretty unstable dog to fail it.
Dogs that are guilty of attacking a human should be destroyed. With that said, I don't mean the family dog that gives the unsupervised child a warning nip. It seems people nowadays have no idea how to read dogs. When I was younger, if you got nipped because you were taunting the dog or you had run up to some strange dog and tried to smother it with a hug, it was your own fault. Dogs have their limits like people, and biting is very much of way of them communicating that they are uncomfortable with what is going on.
However, any dog that attacked a human and caused serious injury or death, should be immediately seized by council and destroyed. I feel the same about loose dogs that attack and injure/kill other dogs. There should be no option for appeal. I feel sorry for the dogs that their owners have failed them, but for a pet dog to attack a human without provocation is a serious taboo.
However, I also don't think having to force every single pitbull looking dog into wearing a Hannibal Lecter style face mask and have them confined to Alcatraz style runs and kennels is the right way to go about it.
It seems like whenever laws pertaining to dogs are passed, it is the responsible owner who is made to suffer. It's like all the strict guidelines we have here in regards to breeding dogs. Yet you still see puppy mills churning out puppies by the thousands each year and the same BYBs advertising their puppies in the free classifieds.
I feel that if the pitbull breed and other breeds that fall under the 'vicious' dog banner are to survive, there needs to be a big clean-out of those who are breeding these dogs. Breeders should be forced to rigorously temperament test, prove and health test their dogs before breeding. This includes both sexes as there is no use having a healthy, proven stud and crossing him with someone's back yard bred female. Facilities should be required to be inspected once or twice a year to make sure they comply with set standards and that dogs are kept confined to the property at all times unless in the presence of the owner or a professional (such as a vet).
I think indiscriminate breeding has undermined many breeds. Pitbulls were never bred to be human aggressive. Dog reactive yes (because that was one of their original purposes) but to show aggression towards a human was considered a serious fault. Those dogs would normally have been culled from the gene pool, but now that dog fighting is illegal and has been forced underground and pitbulls are associated with a 'tough guy' image, you get a lot of dogs being bred that shouldn't.
But people also have to realise that not every breed is intended to go up to strangers with their tail wagging wanting to be patted. This is the AKC breed standard for German Shepherds:
The breed has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression, self-confidence and a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them
Yet I see so many nervy unstable shepherds out there that it just breaks my heart.
It is a hard problem to have to solve, but I do not think a blanket ban will solve anything.
A new breed will just be du jour and the whole cycle will continue until all we are left with is toy breeds and mutts.