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Owners of unregistered pit bulls in Taiwan face fines

Importing and raising pit bulls banned last year, but law did not take effect until March

A pit pull in Taiwan. (New Taipei City Government photo)

A pit pull in Taiwan. (New Taipei City Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Owners of two breeds of dogs in Taiwan will be fined up to NT$250,000 (US$8,169) from Wednesday (March 1) for failing to register and neuter or spay the animals.

A one-year grace period ended on Tuesday (Feb. 28) for a rule that bans raising or importing American Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers following a string of mauling incidents. Violators risk a fine between NT$50,000 and NT$250,000, pursuant to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法).

Those who already have such dogs are required to have them neutered or spayed and registered before they can be allowed to keep them. It is also mandatory to report the death of the canines as well as a change in ownership or location.

As of Tuesday, 33 pit pulls in New Taipei and 28 in Taitung had not been neutered or spayed, according to CNA. Meanwhile, a New Taipei resident surnamed Hsieh (謝) was slapped with a NT$75,000 fine for a repeat offense last month for not muzzling their pit bull, which was kept outside and previously attacked a neighbor's dog.

Taiwan currently lists six dog breeds as dangerous, including the Pit Bull Terrier (American Pit Bull Terrier or American Pit Bull, and American Staffordshire Terrier), Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, Neapolitan Mastiff, Fila Brasileiro, and Mastiff (Tibetan Mastiff, Bull Mastiff, Cane Corso, and Dogue de Bordeaux).

Dogs from these six breeds should be muzzled, leashed with a strap no more than 1.5 meters long, and accompanied by adults when appearing in public places, per the Council of Agriculture.