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Do restricted breeds of dog make for more dangerous pets?

Wed, 11 May 2016

Do restricted breeds of dog make for more dangerous pets?

Meath county councillor Alan Tobin created an online storm this week after posting about the subject of restricted and listed dog breeds on his Facebook page.

Councillor Tobin appeared on Ireland AM yesterday morning to discuss the issue and, this morning Ireland AM’s resident vet Pete Wedderburn was in the studio where we asked him if restricted breeds of dog make for more dangerous pets.

What does the legislation for restricted breeds mean? Pete brought Rocky on the show who is a German Shepard, one of the breeds that are restricted. Pete explained that “what this means is that when he’s out in public he has to wear a muzzle and he has to be kept on a short leash.”

Though Pete said that Rocky was an affectionate family pet, Alan raised the point that people can’t tell this simply by looking at him. Pete said that “the fear is irrational and illogical. I don’t the law should pander to people’s fears. If somebody was frightened of aeroplanes that fly overhead does that mean we should ban aeroplanes from flying overhead?”

Pete also pointed out that, statistically, collies and terriers account for far more biting incidents than dogs on the restricted breed list. These two breeds of dog are some of the most popular in the country.  

Alan then made the point that some people seem to deliberately pick breeds that look intimidating or have a frightening reputation. Pete said that “the one point of the legislation I concede is that it does mean that local authorities have the ability to control people who use those dogs to intimidate other people” but added that the current legislation is too broad.

Pete’s solution is to examine “deed not breed” as other countries have come to realise that laws which target specific breeds do no work. He said that the legislation should target cases where “a dog is seen to be out-of-control or used to intimidate or threaten other people.”

You can watch Pete’s full interview on the issue of restricted dog breeds in the video below.

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