Is a dog more dangerous because of its breed? New attacks reignite security debate

Is a dog more dangerous because of its breed? What does your sociability depend on? The latest canine attacks on people with fatalities have reopened the debate on how to guarantee a peaceful and safe coexistence between animals and people beyond the new animal welfare law.

One of the aspects that the recently launched animal welfare law was intended to resolve in relation to specially handled dogs was to “destigmatize” those that, classified in the regulations that now regulate them as potentially dangerous due to their physical characteristics such as a bite “capable of “to kill”, on the contrary, they will demonstrate good individual behavior and the ability to socialize.

As the advisor for Small Animals of the General Council of Veterinary Colleges of Spain as well as president of the College of Veterinarians of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, María Luisa Fernández, explained to Efe, the majority of specimens classified by their breed as potentially dangerous are, however, “ “very good” and “socially acceptable” in their individual behavior without any problem.

After a very controversial process relating to the animal welfare law, which came into force at the end of September although partially pending the respective regulations, the current animal identification model has finally remained unchanged as initially planned. supposedly dangerous dogs that will continue to be made as before by breed.

Specific law since 1999

The list of dogs considered potentially dangerous (PPP) is included in a specific law for their regulation that dates back to 1999 and has not changed with the latest regulatory changes on animal protection.

It includes the following types: Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Rottweiler, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Tosa Inu and Akita Inu. Other breeds are added to these breeds on the national list depending on the autonomous communities.

Since there have been no changes in the regulations that regulate them, the specimens of breeds classified as potentially dangerous must be restrained by their owner, with a leash and muzzle, as until now, to guarantee public safety and prevent risk situations.

According to the Royal Canine Society of Spain (RSCE), there are around 100,000 dogs in Spain that belong to breeds classified as potentially dangerous.

According to law 50/1999, the definition of a potentially dangerous animal is determined by “a racial typology, aggressive character, size or jaw power with the capacity to cause death or injury.”

It doesn’t just depend on the race

In general, there is broad consensus among professionals in the sector that a dog’s aggressiveness is multifactorial and should not be limited solely to its breed or genetics.

According to María Luisa Fernández, from the College of Veterinarians, “in veterinary clinics, chihuahuas or poodles bite much more than large dogs,” but due to the type of their bite and the small size of the animal, the wounds are minor.

On the contrary, the bite of the attack dog, due to its physical characteristics and the size of the animal, can tear the victim; There are also dogs like the Shepherd that are large, but they do not make prey when they bite.

According to the Ministry of Social Rights of the current coalition government in office, the idea is that, in the potentially dangerous dogs law of 1999, the breed classification regulations be modified so that the supposed dangerousness is assessed by a sociability “test”. and not because of the lineage of the animal.

This test would be carried out by “veterinary specialists and educators” to determine the behavior based on the size of the dog, weight, and other criteria to identify those that are dangerous from those that are not, sources from said Ministry have added to Efe.

The veterinary sector, however, considers that these supposed sociability tests would be very complex to manage, and the results would also be uncertain when it comes to validating dangerousness given that there are many factors that can influence it.

“Simple tests do not work to assess the behavior of animals,” said the Small Animals advisor of the General Council of Veterinary Colleges of Spain.

In addition, tests would have to be carried out on the seven million dogs in Spain, both those included in the list of potentially dangerous dogs by breed and those outside it, that is, all of them.

Responsible breeding

The Royal Canine Society of Spain has called for responsible breeding to preserve breeds as a guarantee of predictability in their behavior and has called for responsible ownership of animals to avoid attacks.

For its part, the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office has recently urged the rest of the specialists in a letter to act with caution after “the confusion” created with potentially dangerous dogs during the processing of the animal welfare law.

“Theoretical and doctrinal assertions are one thing (…) and quite another, the massacred animal, lying on the ground and bleeding, the victim of aggression by a potentially dangerous dog, and what not to say when the victim is a human being”; That is precisely “the first and most important budget from which we must start.”

By Web Desk