The animal welfare concern

In the last couple of weeks I have been sent a link to Politician Emma Hurst Facebook page, specifically this article.

It is not a long article, nor of any value, but it is worth reading.


So, a big emotive picture of some poor dog with injuries looking unhappy to draw in the dog owner and lover.

But as I read through the text, I quickly become aware that unfortunately, no research has been done into the points Emma makes.

This makes the post and her followers and ideals dangerous to the dog community. Politicians are supposed to represent the people, to do that you need to complete thorough investigation and research into the topic and aim toward a better outcome by resolving real problems.

From the post made

Emma says: He wasn’t born dangerous - he was trained to be. It’s legal in NSW for anyone to train a dog to be dangerous. In the end, there will be two victims - the person or other animal attacked, and the dog who was trained to do so (who will likely be killed). There is one person at fault - the person who trained the dog to be dangerous.

It initially appears that this post is aimed at stopping any type of dog fighting sport, which would be perfect in my mind, but then…

Emma says: This isn’t a topic I talk about lightly – and it’s not one that is easy to address. But one of the most obvious ways to protect the community is to stop people from training a dog to attack in the first place.

Yes true but it seems we are moving away from dogs fighting dogs to dogs attacking people? Next comment

Emma says: There are sometimes other factors at play, I get that – but legally allowing animals to be trained to attack people creates a huge risk to the entire community, and may even contribute to illegal underground dog fighting rings. Why the NSW Government allows this to continue is beyond me.

Ok, so many things wrong here, the link between a person training their dog in a bite sports or similar and those who involved on dog fighting rings does not exist.

It appears that Emma is aiming towards preventing people and or dogs from being attacked by another dog, great, that is what I do every day!

But thinking this only happens because a person trains a dog to attack is backwards.

Firstly, dogs are “opportunistic predators”, that is a fact.

They exist and survive by hunting, chasing and capturing their food. Being domesticated does not remove that inherent instinct, and stopping people from training bite work will not either.

There have been 8 people killed by dogs in Australia by dogs since 2018. That’s around 2 per year on average.

None of these dogs were “trained to be dangerous”, in fact I will guarantee you that all of these dogs had little to no effective training at all.

If dogs are not trained on “how to” behave, there is a high likeliness that they will display predation (predatory driven aggressive behaviours) towards live beings they identify as prey. Such as people, livestock, other domestic animals, native wildlife and children.

Many dog sports that include bite work are aimed at satisfying the dogs genetic desires in a structured, controlled, and effective manner.

Dogs trained well in these sports are LESS likely to engage humans or other animals aggressively.

There very last thing we need to do is to REDUCE the training dogs are benefiting from. 

Dog fighting is not training, it is sacrificing the dog, it is put in an unescapable area and set upon by another dog for the purpose of gambling.

Anyone pushing welfare, policy and animal laws should be advised by a number of experienced professionals within that state or country so that they are making ethical, effective and helpful policy.

Emma has turned off the option for people to post on this thread, that is not helpful either.


Emma says: We will be submitting a proposal to the Minister to make it illegal to train a dog to be dangerous as part of the current Animal Welfare Action Plan review.

The Plan she is talking about is here


The first thing I am drawn to is that WELFARE is in red. I am all for animal welfare, the concerns I have are what some people consider to be welfare.

We have seen animals being taken from owners as some small breach of rules was made and those animals sold on or killed. This is why professionals need to be involved.

The discussion paper has listed the “stakeholders” below, note that no representatives from the dog training or dog behaviourist category exist in the list of consultants?

Animal Care Australia do have experienced people but surely a stakeholder in a reform should be those who educate and train dogs.

There are a lot of ambiguous terms and restrictions outlined in this document and huge fines.

Here is a thought… You are walking your dog down the street and he or she jumps on a child in excitement, you tell your dog “no” in a stern voice.

An onlooker feels that is “unnecessary or unreasonable distress” to your dog and reports you.

Under the “new plan” you may be fined $44000.00 and imprisoned.

Who will look after your dog then? Off to the pound and perhaps put to sleep.

These policy changes seem to sneak through and really have nothing to do with animal welfare.

We need to be aware of, perhaps “well meaning” people like Emma that in the end really achieve nothing that looks remotely like welfare due to no real research.

About SteveK9Pro

Steve Courtney is a Nationally Accredited Canine Behaviour Specialist, Obedience Trainer, Law Enforcement Dog Trainer and ANKC Breeder. Steve has been training dogs all his life and in these articles he shares with you his experience...

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One comment

  1. Before Emma writes on the welfare of dogs she should do research. Speak to people like yourself, go to their
    training facilities, watch, listen and learn, then write the paper.

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