Taiwan considering pit bull ban
Taipei, Sept. 16 (CNA) Taiwan's Council of Agriculture (COA) said Wednesday it is considering banning the ownership, breeding and trade of pit bulls, following news coverage of several recent pit bull attacks on other dogs.
In an interview with CNA, Chiang Wen-chuan (江文全), deputy director of the COA's Department of Animal Industry, said his agency has discussed a potential ban on purebred and mixed breed pit bulls with local governments and representatives of the pet industry.
An announcement previewing the policy, which would ban the import, export, ownership and breeding of the dogs, formally known as American pit bull terriers, could come as soon as late September, Chiang said.
If the plan is implemented, current pit bull owners would be able to keep their dogs, but would be required to register them with the government, he said.
Statistics from the COA's national pet registry show that around 1,000 pit bulls are kept as pets in Taiwan, according to Chiang.
The announcement of the potential ban follows news coverage of an incident on Sunday night, when an unleashed pit bull fatally attacked a poodle at Taipei Expo Park in the capital's Zhongshan District.
In a statement to the Taipei City Animal Protection Office, the pit bull's owner said his pet had never previously attacked another dog, but acknowledged that he was in the habit of walking it at night to prevent it from being provoked by another dog.
Following the incident, the animal protection office said the owner would be fined between NT$30,000 (US$1,028) and NT$150,000 for failing to leash and muzzle a dog listed as belonging to an "aggressive" breed under Article 20 of the Animal Protection Act.
According to Wu Chin-an (吳晉安), who heads the office, six types of dog are currently labeled as "aggressive": pit bulls, tosas, Neapolitan mastiffs, Brazilian mastiffs, Argentine dogos and Molossian hounds.
Under the law, such dogs can only be walked in public by an adult owner and must be properly leashed and muzzled, Wu said, adding that violations in Taipei can be reported through the 1999 citizens hotline.
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