#AlanTobin "delighted" about #breed specific #restrictions at the #dog park, #Ireland

Photo by Thomas Hawk via Foter.com CC BY NC
The poster and the politician: Alan Tobin  "delighted" about breed specific restrictions at the dog park, Ireland

Pet parents are outraged. Councillor Alan Tobin is receiving serious backlash after posting his views on the new posters for the dog park that list restricted breeds. The County Councillor of Meath, Ashbourne in Ireland  stated in his Facebook post that he is "delighted" to get the signs that he had asked for, and that is amazes him that "some people think these are ideal family pets."

Dogs on the list include American Bull Terrier, Bull Mastiff, Staffordshier Bull Terrier, German Shepherd, Japanese Akita, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, English Bull Terrier and Japanese Tosa. Most Facebook users are outraged, and the post has over 140, 000 shares and over 240, 000 comments. While most people are in opposition to Tobin's poster there are comments from people who agree with him. Breeds that bite has been a great debate among pet owners, most veterinary and canine research organizations take a similar stance on the breed bite: the main focus should be on responsible pet ownership, not breed.

In a document listing these organization's official statements about breed specific legislation it is clear to see that depending on the situation, environment and treatment of the dog, any breed can bite.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states:

"The American Veterinary Medical Association supports dangerous animal legislation by state, county, or municipal governments provided that legislation does not refer to specific breeds or classes of animals. This legislation should be directed at fostering safety and protection of the general public from animals classified as dangerous.”

The Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) states:

“Best Friends opposes breed-discriminatory legislation (also called breed-specific legislation, BSL), which arbitrarily targets particular breeds. Breed-discriminatory laws are not only ineffective at improving community safety, they are extremely expensive to enforce and deplete needed resources from animal control.”

The list goes on. It looks like the experts agree that their are other variables that impact whether a dog bites that are more important to focus on than breed. 

Take an unneutered male dog as an example. According to a 1991 study dogs that bite are 6.2 times as likely to be male than female, and of those males, intact males are 2.6 times more likely to bite than a dog that is neutered. Should Tobin have just banned intact male dogs from the park, instead of his list of breeds? The study also showed that biting dogs were more likely to live in a home with one or more children age 10 or younger, and to be chained while in the yard.

Another 2006 study showed that the highest percent of people bitten by dogs (26%) were 55 years or older. In fact 75% of the attacks studied involved a "grandparent type." What's next for Tobin: banning grandparents from the dog park?

It is easy to look at breed lists and statistics, and see what you want to see. Often the meat and bones of the statistics involve more about how the bites happened. None of these factors require a dog to be a specific breed. It is important to be educated before making a decision about a certain breed of dog. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but don't you want to make an informed decision?

What do you think about Alan Tobin's breed specific regulations at the dog park? Tweet me @PawsForReaction or leave a comment below! I am really curious to hear peoples opinions on this!

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