Taiwan mulls tougher control on aggressive pet dogs as attacks rise

The number of pit bulls, a dangerous breed, has exceeded 1,000 in Taiwan

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A pit bull that assaulted a boy in Taiwan in 2018

A pit bull that assaulted a boy in Taiwan in 2018 (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s animal management authorities will consider implementing tighter control over pit bull dogs kept as pets in the country, in response to the increasing number of attacks involving the canine breed considered aggressive and thus posing risks to public safety.

At a press conference held on Friday, Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) urged the Council of Agriculture (COA) to address the issue of dangerous pet dogs. Measures should be taken to ban the import and enforce mandatory neutering of aggressive dog breeds, as well as promoting responsible pet ownership, he stressed.

Hsu pointed out that there are currently six breeds listed as dangerous by the COA, including the pit bull, Molosser, Neapolitan Mastiff, Dogo Argentino, Tosa, and Fila Brasileiro. Alarmingly, the number of pit bulls raised domestically in Taiwan has exceeded 1,000, he added.

A total of 89 attacks have been reported between 2014 and 2018, mostly in northern and central Taiwan, but the severity of the issue can be underestimated as many cases could go under-reported, wrote Central News Agency.

The legislator attributed the growing concern of canine assaults to inadequate regulation, which only requires such dogs to be muzzled, leashed with a strap no more than 1.5 meter long, and accompanied by adults when appearing in public places.

Wang Chung-shu (王忠恕), COA Animal Husbandry Deputy Director, admitted that there is room for improvement for the enforcement of laws related to dangerous canines control, while pledging more effort by the government to manage such pets in compliance with the Animal Protection Act.

Only last week, two dogs were reportedly mauled by American pit bull terriers in brutal attacks in Yunlin and Nantou separately, one of which was fatal.