Government won’t change criticised list of illegal dog breeds

Revision of the dog laws will not include a change of the list of 13 banned dog breeds even though eight of them have never attacked anyone

Despite criticism from dog owners and several political parties, the food and agriculture minister, Karen Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne) has decided not to change the list of 13 illegal dog breeds.

"The food minister recommends keeping the existing ban against 13 dog breeds," the Food Ministry wrote in a press release.

The list was introduced with the latest revision of the law in 2010, but recently the radio station P4 Sjælland revealed that there is no record of eight of the 13 banned dog breeds having ever attacked anyone in Denmark.

The eight banned breeds with no reported incidents are: Tosa Inu, Boerboel, Kangal, Central Asian Ovcharka, Caucasian Ovcharka, South Russian Ovcharka, Tornjak og Sarplaninac.

The remaining breeds are: Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Fila Brasileiro, Dogo Argentino and American Bulldog.

READ MORE: Dogs could get day in court after proposed law change

Dennis Flyftkjær, the animal rights spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti, said that the government should consider taking some of the breeds off the list.

"It is possible that some of the dogs can be taken off the list again," Flyftkjær told DR Nyheder. "I find it a bit strange that we allow the wolf as a protected species in Denmark, while some dog breeds that are used as shepherds to protect sheep against wolves are being banned."

Keeping list for safety reasons
When the hearings concerning the proposed law change ended on Friday, spokesperson Orla Hav of Socialdemokraterne confirmed that the ministry is going to keep all 13 breeds on the list.

"For safety reasons we have chosen that we don't want these 13 breeds in Denmark," Hav told DR Nyheder.

The Food Ministry has not yet published the revised version of the dog laws, but changes will include new rules on putting down dogs and allowing dog owners to get a veterinarian's opinion before police decide whether to put down dogs responsible for serious bites.

READ MORE: Special delivery: Dead dog sent to agriculture minister

On October 13, 2,500 dog owners went to parliament building Christiansborg and called for changing the law, which they think has resulted in too many dogs being put down.

The law changes came on the heels of several high-profile cases that sparked tremendous public debate involving dogs being put down for biting or nipping in self-defence. In one case, police officer Lars Bo Lomholt was given a 60-day suspended sentence and put on probation for two years for abusing his position of authority for an incident last year in which he prevented a dog from being put down.

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