Dog owners face up to 10 years jail if their pet kills someone or puts a person's life in danger under tough new laws introduced in State Parliament yesterday.
Owners will also have to microchip new dogs from November 1 next year, unless the pets were already registered, under the tighter dangerous dog controls.
Introducing the reforms, Local Government Minister John Castrilli said the laws would help protect the community through increased controls over dangerous dogs and higher penalties encouraging more responsible ownership.
The laws would ban the sale, purchase, breeding and advertising of restricted breeds including American pit bulls, Argentinian fighting dogs and Perro de Presa Canarios.
Owners of restricted dogs would be forced to sterilise and microchip them within 30 days of the legislation taking effect.
Mr Castrilli said the laws would also expand the interpretation of dangerous dogs to include commercial security dogs.
He acknowledged that dogs not on the restricted breeds list could also be declared dangerous, with local governments getting the power to enforce restrictions on any dog which acted aggressively.
The owners of all dangerous dogs would be forced to put up warning signs, keep dogs muzzled and leashed when outside, and ensure the dogs wore collars identifying them as dangerous.
The laws would also hand more power to local councils to deal with barking dogs.
Mr Castrilli said there was widespread support for the new laws, including from the WA Local Government Association, the WA Rangers Association and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals WA.
RSPCA spokesman Tim Mayne said he supported most aspects of the new laws, especially compulsory microchipping and a provision to enable courts to force owners do a dog training course in place of, or in addition to, a penalty.
But he did not support the laws which applied specifically to dogs on the restricted breeds list, because he believed a dog's temperament was shaped by many factors such as training and whether the dog had been neglected or abused, rather than its breed.
He pointed out none of the dogs that mauled a six-year-old girl in Baldivis in June, leaving her with more than 100 stitches in her head, were restricted breeds.