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Authorities to determine whether dog that attacked toddler in south Taiwan is pit bull

Taiwan recently banned ownership of 2 pit bull breeds without registration

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(Pingtung County Police Bureau Donggang Precinct photo)

(Pingtung County Police Bureau Donggang Precinct photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Pingtung County’s Department of Agriculture (DOA) is investigating whether a dog that injured a young girl on Sunday (April 3) can be considered a pit bull.

DOA Director Cheng Yung-yu (鄭永裕) told CNA that the two-year-old, surnamed Hsieh (謝), was on a walk with her aunt at around 4 p.m. in Pingtung's Kanding Township when the dog ran out of a house and attacked her. The dog's owner, surnamed Chen (陳), heard the commotion as passersby struggled to save the child and rushed out the door to help; Chen was also bitten during the confusion.

Cheng said Hsieh had suffered more than 40 bite wounds and was being treated at a local hospital. Even though her vitals were stable, her family was considering having her transferred to a hospital in Kaohsiung, as her injuries are serious.

The owner said the puppy was a stray when it was adopted. Though it resembled a pit bull, it was registered as “mixed” in 2020 due to the uncertainty surrounding its breed, according to the DOA director.

Cheng went on to say that DOA personnel found the dog’s appearance to be similar to that of a pit bull. The department will use the Council of Agriculture’s dog facial recognition system to determine whether the pet is in fact a pit bull breed, per CNA.

Taiwan made it illegal to keep two specific pit bull breeds — American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers — without registration starting March. 1.

The director said Chen could face punishment for violating the Animal Protection Act.