Breeds ban doesn’t make sense

All over the nation, there are many reports of stray dogs biting, even mauling victims to death. Instead of addressing that issue, the Centre has gone ahead with banning pedigree dog breeds. Will it serve any purpose?

Some moves defy logic. That holds good for the Centre’s latest move to prohibit the import, sale, and breeding of 23 “ferocious” dog breeds, deeming them a “threat to human life.”

Over the years, incidents of stray dogs attacking people like a pack of wolves have set alarm bells ringing among the citizens. It even led to many deaths, which called for urgent steps to tackle the stray dog menace across the country.

But now, surprisingly, the government has come up with the move of banning the pedigree breeds instead of doing something about stray dogs. What’s the logic behind the latest move?

Impulsive decision

The decision by the Centre is not based on data and is impulsive, says Archana Naidu, founder of the Society for Animal Aid. She says there are thousands of pet parents who already own these pedigree breeds. “How does the Centre plan to impose a ban on the rights of pet parents who want to have their pets’ offspring? Would the Centre pass an order on euthanising all the existing pets that are living here?” wonders Archana.

“Ferocious breeds”

The 23 breeds banned by the Centre include: Pitbull Terriers, American Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Tosa Inu, American Staffordshire Terrier, Fila Brasileiro, Dogo Argentino, Boerboel Kangal, Central Asian Shepherd Dog, and Caucasian Shepherd. Other breeds include South Russian Shepherd, Tornjak, Sarplaninac, and Akita, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Wolf Dogs, Canario, Moscow Guard Dog, Cane Corso, and Bandog.

No data

The government lacks data on how many of these pedigree animals are really responsible for the dog bites and the collateral damage, she says. When it comes to stray dog attacks, Archana feels the government has grossly failed to implement measures to contain the population of street animals.

Street dogs may be in fear, sick, hungry, threatened, rabid, hurt, anxious, or sometimes protect their litter when they attack humans. “Most times, they attack if they are provoked or feel a threat from humans. It is impossible and impractical to catch the millions of street animals and restrict them to a shelter,” says Archana.

The only way to tackle this is if the Centre and state can prepare a comprehensive strategy, taking inspiration from countries like the Netherlands, which tackled the issue of stray animals by introducing multiple workable measures. Law enforcement can stop illegal breeders from selling puppies. “We can impose higher taxes on store-bought puppies, thus encouraging people to adopt instead of shop and opening more shelters that take care of injured and sick street animals,” she suggests.

Who’s to Blame

Dr Jasleen Kaur, founder and head surgeon at Allvet Pet Clinic, feels the ban will not help. “Because those breeds are not always ferocious. Many times, it’s also because of human error. Lack of proper understanding of the kind of environment, space, and training these breeds need or bad breeding are equally responsible for their temperament,” she says. If the breeding laws and adoption laws were made stricter with regular checks, the continued existence and survival of these breeds wouldn’t be at risk. “I agree that most of the attacks in recent times have been due to stray dogs rather than pet dogs. But a lot of that too can be attributed to human error,” says Dr. Jasmeen.

Restrictions in feeding and petting stray animals by societies and colonies and no proper sterilisation and vaccination programme are the reasons.

Nurture over nature

In all her years of practice, Dr. Jasleen hasn’t come across ferocious pitbulls. “It’s always about nurture over nature. We have some amazingly docile and friendly Rottweilers, and then we also have some extremely ferocious and hard-to-manage beagles, or shihtzus. So it all boils down to the love, space, enrichment, and training that the pet gets,” she says.

Tie up

Dr Jasleen feels the authorities should tie up with veterinarians, ethical trainers, and behaviourists, and the law should be made stricter to enforce proper pre- and post-adoption checks, education on different breeds, and their acceptance of the space and time the pet parent can provide them with. “This, along with a strict check on backyard breeding or bad breeding practices, is a much better and more permanent solution than banning breeds,” adds Dr Jasleen.

Banning such breeds also implies that others are safe, when the reality is that any dog can bite severely.

Just like we barely see any Doberman anymore, our future generations will probably not get the privilege to see half of these breeds if we continue to ban them instead of addressing the root cause of the aggression and these incidents.” — Dr Jasleen Kaur

Archana Naidu feels the government is simply redirecting attention to the issue of street dog attacks and showcasing that they are addressing the issue by imposing a ban on pedigrees, which is highly irresponsible.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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