Proposals to tighten up regulations on keeping a dog have been announced by the government, which includes getting a pet licence for certain types of dogs.
Requirements of the new licence requirements will force new owners with dogs classified as ‘dangerous’ to attend training classes and obtain a veterinary certificate. Existing owners will be required to take and pass a test of competence, where the dog itself may undergo an annual behavioural test and veterinary exam.
The law is brought about following the death of a 10-year old child in Picardie after being attacked by two Great Danes.
The proclamation states that the local mairie should be notified by the owner or the veterinarian should any person be bitten by a dog, regardless of the breed or the severity of the bite.
Increased authority will be given to local bodies who will mandate that the dog should go through behavioural tests and the owner to attend training classes. In serious cases, the local mayor will have the power to order that the dog be put down.
Dogs that are classified as dangerous are already subject to tougher regulations including required insurance, veterinary certificates, registration documents, and muzzling in public spaces. However, pressure is rising on the government to take severe action to deal with the increasing injuries and mortalities resulting from dog attacks.
It’s possible that pit bulls will one day be outlawed in the future, where owners will be forced to put down their pets.
While animal groups welcome these changes in relation to education and training, canine pressure groups in particular, are concerned about the strength of proposals alongside dangerous dogs, pointing out that the death of the child from Picardie was from a type of dog that was not classified as dangerous.
Also, the practicality of the proposals is a concern. From the 8 million dogs in the country, 100,000 of which are classified as dangerous. Currently, it is not clear as to who is authorized to issue the certificates of competence to owners or who is to certify that the behaviour of a dog is acceptable.
Vets are worried that they are going to be in the unwelcome position of having to denounce their clients to the local council, or to insist that a dog is put down. This situation may very well overwhelm the dog training and veterinary professions. One thing is certain, now might be the time to consider starting a dog training school!
On a side note, some illnesses may cause some dogs to become aggressive. If a dog who has never shown any sign of aggression suddenly starts to growl or bite, it may be caused by a disease or illness. For example, Danes are more prone to bloat, if you observe this, contact your veterinary as soon as possible!