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The National Companion Animal Coalition (NCAC), of which the CFHS is a founding member, defines a dangerous dog as:
Dangerous dogs are generally the result of an irresponsible owner and, contrary to popular belief, dangerous dogs can exist in every breed and breed cross. As well, the incidence of dog bites has not been shown to be reduced by restricting the ownership of certain dog breeds. Aggressive dog behaviour can be attributed to a lack of appropriate training and socialization, inappropriate breed choice for owner’s lifestyle, failure to spay or neuter and mistreatment on behalf of the owner or person interacting with the dog.
The issue of banning breeds that are thought to be more prone to aggressive behaviours has become the subject of debate – and legislation – at the municipal and provincial levels. Some municipalities have imposed tough by-laws against dog breeds that they have been deemed to be dangerous, such as pit-bulls. However, there are several reasons why breed-specific bans are problematic:
The NCAC has developed a fact sheet on this issue entitled, Reducing the Incidence of Dog Bites and Attacks: Do Breed Bans Work? [pdf file: 0.45mb] While this document is unlikely to end the debate on this contentious matter, it at least contributes some valuable information to what promises to be an ongoing discussion.
Other preventive measures: Should dog owners be licensed?
Maybe licensing dog owners would be a sensible approach, rather than licensing the dogs. We are required to obtain a license to drive a car and to have a gun because those things can be dangerous to us and to others. A dog can be dangerous too, so would it not be a reasonable requirement for dog owners to obtain a license and to meet certain criteria? This would be an effective way of ensuring people have adequate knowledge and reasonable expectations before getting a dog and are prepared to spend time and energy training and socializing the dog and being a responsible dog owner.
1 Szpakowski, NM et al. An epidemiological investigation into the reported incidents of dog biting in the City of Guelph. Can Vet J 1989; 30:937-942.Print this page