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Banning Dog Breeds May Not Help Lower Bite Risks

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Several California cities are experimenting with banning specific breeds of dogs like Rottweilers, to reduce the risk of dog bites. However, an interesting new study that was conducted in Ireland after breed-specific legislation was enacted in that country, found that banning specific breeds doesn't necessarily keep people safer.

The study specifically focused on whether people were safer from dog bites in Ireland after that country passed a special law that imposed restrictions on owning certain types of breeds. As many as 11 breeds were included in the regulation, and owners faced strong restrictions on the handling of these dogs. For instance, these dogs were required to be muzzled every time they were walked.

However, the researchers found that during the period of time after the breed-specific legislation was enacted, there was no corresponding decline in the number of dog bites that were recorded in the country. On the contrary, there was actually a slight increase in the number of dog bites.

The researchers speculate that focusing on banning breeds, as the sole solution to the problem of dog bites, is the wrong approach to take. They believe that it actually lulls people into a false sense of complacency and security. People may start believing that they are now much safer when they are around dogs because certain dangerous breeds have been banned. That could cause them to lower their guard and behave in a threatening manner around a dog. That obviously increases the risk of a dog bite, even if the breed in question is not one that has been restricted. In fact, researchers found an increase in the number of serious dog bites after the law was passed.


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