A COMPANION animal taskforce convened by a NSW government backbencher, Andrew Cornwell, will begin deliberations on Monday on aspects of state legislation under a deepening shadow cast by this week's fatal dog attack in Victoria. The taskforce, which will include representatives of the Pet Industry Association, the Cat Protection Society, the Animal Welfare League and the RSPCA, will look at birth rates and euthanasia of unwanted animals. But it is likely to discuss Thursday's attack, in which Ayen Chol, 4, was fatally mauled by a dog described as a pit bull-mastiff cross. Steve Coleman, the chief executive of the RSPCA, said: ''There are still serious questions to be answered in Victoria.'' Advertisement: Story continues below Deepening shadow ... Ayen Choi, 4, was killed by a pit-bull. Photo: John Woudstra NSW has one of the strictest companion animal regimes in the country. But it has still had its own tragedies, including the death of Tyra Kuehne, 4, at Warren, north-west of Dubbo, in 2006 when she was attacked by several cross-bred dogs. In 2009, Ruby-Lea Bourke, 3, was attacked and killed by four bullmastiff cross-breeds at Whitton, in the Riverina. A spokesman for the NSW Minister for Local Government, Don Page, said yesterday the state's 152 councils had been reminded of their responsibilities after a magistrate's decision to fine Warren Council $120,000 for negligence in failing to act on complaints about the dogs involved in the attack there. But so far the state has not seen the intense reaction in Victoria, where the National Party deputy leader, Peter Walsh, said failure of dog owners to control dangerous dogs would be likened to culpable driving. He also said that pit bull terriers had ''lost their right to exist in Victoria''. Animal groups have described that as a hysterical knee-jerk reaction. Colin Muir, from the American Pit Bull Terrier Club of Australia, said it was nonsense to target an entire breed through the actions of a single animal. ''At the end of the day what they are going to do is march up to someone's door and take the dog away,'' he said. ''What they need is to target responsible ownership, not the breed.'' Linda Watson, who is doing a PhD degree on ''dog-bite injury and the effect of regulation'', said the term ''pit bull'' had become a generic one, to include dogs such as Staffordshire terriers, English bull terriers, bulldogs, even boxers. The term pit bull had come to mean ''any small- to middle-sized, short-haired, muscular dog'', she said, which was most misleading and most unfair. ''I don't believe any breed is dangerous,'' she said. ''It is how the dog is treated and the circumstances in which it finds itself in when it may happen to bite.'' In NSW ''restricted breeds'' cannot be sold, bred or imported. They include the American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa and the Argentinian and Brazilian fighting dogs. NSW councils have the power to declare any dog ''dangerous'', which places responsibilities on the owner for control and containment of the animal. Sanctions include a maximum jail term of two years and fines of up to $55,000. However, enforcing the legislation can be expensive for councils.