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Pitbulls involved in vast majority of dog-related incidents

Pitbull (File photograph)

Pitbulls were involved in more than half of all dog-related incidents since 2017 — and the breed made up more than 90 per cent of the dogs put down after seizure during the period.

Figures released show that since the start of 2017, the Government has received a total of 384 incidents of dog attacks or behaving in a threatening manner.

Of those, 218 involved pitbulls — seven times more than any other single breed.

Comparatively, 32 incidents involving German shepherds were reported during the same period, 13 involving Dobermans, 12 from rottweilers and ten from Jack Russell terriers.

As of Friday, this year’s figures for pitbulls include nine incidents of an attack or injury to a person, nine incidents of an attack or injury to another animal and 28 reports of chasing or threatening behaviour.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said that the figures also highlighted a sharp rise in pitbull-related incidents.

He said: “There appeared to be an upward trend in the complaints relating to threatening behaviour and attacks on animals and persons until the pandemic-related lockdowns.

“Also, 2021 saw a return to pre-pandemic levels, and 2022 is tracking to continue this upward trend. The most significant fact is that complaints of pitbull attacks are about seven times more frequent than the second leading breed of dog.”

The breed also represents the vast majority of animals that are put down after being found or seized.

Of the 145 dogs euthanased after being caught or seized, all but 12 were pitbulls.

So far this year 34 such pitbulls have been put down — more than any other year on record.

The spokesman said: “Regarding the number of found, seized and euthanased dogs, the prevalence of pitbulls is apparent.

“At just seven months into 2022, we have already surpassed the total for 2021.”

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said last week that the abuse and the “weaponising” of the animals had “come out of the shadows” and that he was finalising regulations that would give greater power to dog wardens.

He ruled out reimposing harsh restrictions that were lifted by Parliament in 2018, when the putting down of banned breeds drew widespread condemnation from the public.

Punish the Deed not the Breed, which advocates for pitbulls and other restricted dogs, said last week that a crackdown on illegal for-profit breeding was needed.

“Profit needs to be removed from the illegal litters and those breeding need to be held accountable through the courts, paying fines large enough to spay and neuter the puppies that were seized,” the group said.

“Seizing the puppies and adopting them out is something that we have always advocated for.”

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Published August 08, 2022 at 7:52 am (Updated August 08, 2022 at 7:52 am)

Pitbulls involved in vast majority of dog-related incidents

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