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Minister proposes ban on fighting dogs

TT/The Local · 13 Jul 2010, 10:17

Published: 12 Jul 2010 08:25 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jul 2010 10:17 GMT+02:00

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Odell proposed that housing companies should be given the responsibility to introduce temporary bans in their rental contracts. But if the initiative does not prove sufficient, then the Odell's party the Christian Democrats want to see legislation.

"It's not a human right to keep menacing dogs which threaten other people," said Mats Odell to the TV4 Nyheterna news programme.

Odell has been inspired by a similar ban a dozen breeds of dog introduced in Denmark in June. The Danish initiative means the named breeds can no longer be imported or bred.

Among the breeds banned in Denmark under the legislation include the Pit Bull Terrier, the Argentinian Dogo, Brazilian Mastif, American Staffordshire Terrier and American Bulldog.

Mats Odel was asked whether the problem was not with the dogs but with their owners.

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"Sweden is an open country and there are people with different lifestyles and interests living here. The people are one thing, but if they keep dangerous animals which are bred because they are aggressive then I think that it is time to act," he told TV4 Nyheterna.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:10 July 12, 2010 by hunnysnowbee
The problem does not lie with the breed of a dog, but with how they are treated by their owners. ANY dog can become an aggressive dog if not treated correctly. Rottweilers tend to have a bad name here in the UK, yet my mother had a crossbreed rottie who was very placid. As for staffordshire bull terriers, as mentioned above as being now banned in Denmark, they known for being very well temperemented, loyal dogs who are good with kids, obviously if treated correctly. In fact, I have a 5 year old mongrel, who the only type of breed can be picked out in him is staffordshire bull terrier. He is the daftest softy of a dog there is and is and always has been brilliant with my 3 year old son.

Condemn the bad owners, not a whole breed of dog. I have been to a dog rehomeing place and seen a very aggressive labrador, (normal reknown for their good temperment), who, poor thing, had obviously been badly misstreated, which just goes to show any dog can become menacing if not treated right!
09:42 July 12, 2010 by calebian22

You are correct that environment does play a part in the temperment of a dog. Any dog can be treated poorly which will increase aggressive behavior. However, to claim that these above mentioned breeds have not been bred for generations to be fighters is naive. Nature often wins out over nuture.
10:10 July 12, 2010 by Suntiger
I don't know... The three pitbulls I've known (not just met) have been a good case for nurture over nature. They were all very nice dogs and good with both children and other dogs.

Also had a very nice rottweiler on one of my rounds when I worked as a mailman (had a nasty german shepherd too, with an owner that was just as nasty).
10:18 July 12, 2010 by Otaku
Aha a politician try to think... lets see what we have here...

"but if they keep dangerous animals which are bred because they are aggressive"

In that case, Minster Minister, I think It will much more effective to reduce the danger, if you vote for a breeding stop of the Human race. Especially into the northern parts of Sweden...

I do not know a more aggressive animal as a Human, do you not agree ?

10:49 July 12, 2010 by Sherian Elizabeth

I totally agrre with you that the most aggressive animal on earth is a Human being. Just look at history and the state of the world today as human beings just love to kill each other, the wars that are going on and how humans by nature just love to kill each other over the dumbest things likedesigner sneakers, cars and the list can go on and on. Dogs are the some of the nicest animals on earth, it's just how they are treated by the Human being that makes them aggressive. Your right, "politicians thinking again" Not a good idea.
11:13 July 12, 2010 by MyPerspective
This is not an easy controversy to handle. However, something needs to be done to stop or at least reduce the number of dog attacks in Sweden.

In the area where I live, several times a year, the paper writes about another terrible dog attack against a child or adult; bitten while riding their bike to school, out jogging, visiting a friend in an apartment complex...

In all cases I've read, the dogs involved in the attacks are those which are traditionally thought to have a genetic disposition for being aggressive. Ironically, in most cases, the dog owner's response is "He's never hurt anyone before. He's gentle. I love him like a family member."
12:13 July 12, 2010 by Amber Dawn
My mom was almost killed by a "he's never hurt anyone before, he's gentle, I love him like a member of my family" pit bull. She was playing with our Siberian Husky in the back yard when a this pit jumped the fence and attacked. She didn't even see him before she was hit. Had it not been for our dog, he probably would have killed her. Our husky fought him off and was badly wounded in the process. As the paramedics were treating my mom, the owners came down the street calling for their dog. They were floored. This dog lived in the house with three small children and had never shown the first sign of aggression.

I also worked with a woman with horrendous scars on her forearms. Her pit, that she had raised from a puppy, just turned on her one day. She is an animal lover and trains dogs to be service animals. She never mistreated this dog. You never hear cases like this with a standard poodle.
12:24 July 12, 2010 by Borilla
As usual, "concerned" politicians claim to act for the public good; especially, when elections approach. What better way to get some publicity, without addressing any pressing need, than to create a straw man to knock over. In this case, the minister seems to want to pick on dogs. While not taking the burden on his shoulders, he is perfectly willing to lay it on the housing companies.

Most of those commenting seem to realize that it is the owner, not the dog, that is at fault. If Mats Odell really wants to do something about the alleged problem, let him seek legislation penalizing the owner, not the dog. He might also want to check the statistics, which show that the majority of dog related injuries come as a result of the acts of so-called "lap dogs". What does he propose to do about the Lhasa Apso that eats Aunt Eva's face? And what about the "children" that beat and rob elderly ladies, and burn,loot and destroy property? Perhaps they should be outlawed also.
12:27 July 12, 2010 by Nemesis
The sooner these breeds are banned, the better.

There is only one need for fighting dogs, to fight them.
13:39 July 12, 2010 by Kevin Harris
There's nothing wrong with pitbulls and "fighting" terriers are when well-handled by experienced dog owners Unfortunately idiots are attracted to them and they are not looked after properly.

Maybe a scheme where owners must be approved by the police might be a good compromise. It that's unworkable, ban them outright like in Denmark, or keep them muzzled by law.
13:59 July 12, 2010 by americanska
Really Nemisis - you are for dog fighting? ;_

I would have though a bleeding heart liberal like yourself would want to "rehabilitate" these dogs. And since most of them are owned by the scum of the earth. The government should pay.
14:42 July 12, 2010 by xenyasai
To all of you who blame the owners. It is not guns who kill people, it is the owners, yet many countries have decided it is better to have strict laws regarding guns.

At a point we have to make a decision that is, I know it is cliché, for the greater good. If banning these dogs has the same effect as restricting guns, then I am all for it.

And I am sorry, I do not care how cute they can be, they are originally bread to be fighters. A gun can have a beautiful design, but that doesn't mean you should give it to your five-year-old kid.
15:20 July 12, 2010 by EtoileBrilliant
"He's never hurt anyone. He's our family pet"

Don't assume anecdotal evidence is the same as empirical evidence. It's like saying "my aunty smoked 60 a day and lived to 94" and saying smoking isn't harmful to one's health. The reason these breeds are targeted is the empirical evidence suggests that they are much more dangerous than other breeds.

Why not make liability insurance compulsory for all dogs and see how they react to incredibly high premia.
15:50 July 12, 2010 by Mr. Puppy
Xenyasai, you are so sick. I am so sick of hearing that argument when it comes this dog issue in Sweden and Denmark. Dogs are living creatures.

Comparing them to guns is like the Nazis comparing Jews to guns. It's sick and wrong.

Also, none of these dog races were bred over the centuries to kill humans. Almost all dog races were bred to hunt in some fashion. But now as people don't hunt as much, the domestication of dogs continues in the opposite direction.

What's happening in Denmark, where any puppy of the forbidden races is born has to be immediately slaughtered, is sick.

And Americanska, if you thought Nemesis was a bleeding heart liberal you are an idiot. Stop trying to extrapolate people's entire world-view based on a few statements. Your comment says a lot more about the ways in which you limit your own thinking than it says about Nemesis.
15:53 July 12, 2010 by flintis
No it's not the dog, but if you see an american pit bull etc, you can be 99% certain that at the other end of the coupling lies an arrogant, ignorant moron.

Both the morons & the dogs renowned to be "fighting" breeds should be banned.
15:59 July 12, 2010 by eZee.se
I'm one of the people who loves big dogs, even had a few in the past without problems.

But I have seen friends who bought big dogs... and had no idea how to handle them.

(On a sidenote, for anyone even thinking of getting a dog, or even if you own one, watch "dog whisperer" on the national geographic channel)

The worst part is, some dogs ARE bred just to fight, scumbags around the world do this and when they lose they have been documented cases of them electrocuting the dog, or drowning it. Banning large, and known fighting breeds should address the above issue, while being just a minor inconvenience to those who want a large dog - but have to settle for a smaller more gentle breed.

A little while back I got a smaller cross breed, and to be honest I love the little fella just as much as I loved my big dogs.

I totally support this ban.
16:10 July 12, 2010 by Sethandra
So every individual dog of these proposed breeds to be banned are evil and agressive and scared people huh? What a complete and utter crock!

Pitbull Terriers are such lovely and loving dogs. Great companions and have a huge heart. They only become fighting dogs when sick and twisted people train them to be fighting dogs. This breed didn't start off as fighting dogs but were used to hunt and catch semi-wild cattle. Maybe those who say "they were bred to fight" should actually do some research into the history of the breed before comdemning them.
18:01 July 12, 2010 by cogito
Most people know that men who keep pitbulls are under-equipped in the brain department.

And their brain is not the only organ that is under-equipped.

They need these big potent dogs to compensate.
21:00 July 12, 2010 by Radical1
This is good news, i tend to find that in the poorer areas of sweden alot of people have pitbulls, i think its becoming more of a trend in the poorer areas to have a pitbull. Sweden has alot of dogs anyway maybe because people are very bored to be honest, Well in these poor areas maybe they want to bolster their self esteem when they walk the streets and half of them dont even put a leash on the dog..my son was nearly attacked by one so this is the best news. If their were fewer pitbulls then it would not be such a big problem but the government have noticed for some time that it is a trend especially in the poorer areas and its only a matter of time that more and more people could be attacked by these fighting breeds.
23:06 July 12, 2010 by Déjà Vu
I understand the argument of nature versus nurture, but I'm going to have to disagree as this is not an issue of violent or aggressive animals based on nature or nurture, but rather a mix of a neuro-biological predisposition to being a more aggresive breed, and moreover having the assets to follow through with the aggression. Even poodles and smaller breeds can be very nasty and vicious, but they don't have the muscle, jaw structure, and strength as does a pitbull or other predatory breeds. There are just some breeds that do not belong in a domestic setting. I suggest, if a ban is even worth considering, that breeds of dog are classified and then the country is zoned for which classifications can be allowed. Pit bulls can be very useful given the circumstance, but all in all I just don't feel they are biologically designed for a domestic setting where small children and other things can trigger the natural instinct of a naturally predatory animal.
23:51 July 12, 2010 by Da Goat
I once had a dog that would shoot out and bite me when riding my bike as a kid, but being a clever little mite fixed it with a water pistol and ammonia, you just can't beat that for instant dog training (I imagine the poor darn thing almost drowned in its water bowl) RESPECT muttley. (that was after a well aimed rock did not work)

it was just a mongrel dog but its owner was one of the prescribed ones as already mentioned !

so just have to carry a armed water pistol and you will be safe as houses sweden!

or maybe you should consider getting rid of the powerful biter dogs! then dangerous cats and dopey humans then.............
00:30 July 13, 2010 by locaxy
All libertarian that I am, it should be acknowledged that these dogs are a serious issue. I mean, we don't allow people to have dangerous animals walking around as pets (think leopards and the like). We just ban it. Even if someone argues the animal is tamed. And besides, it is extremely cruel to have dogs living in flats. To the dogs mainly. But also to the neighbors.

If you have a ranch and the dog does not stroll around a city, then it's OK. But most owners of these breeds are highly egocentric flat-dwelling males who see the dog as a status symbols.

There's a harm principle involved here. Fighting dogs are to protect yourself and your property. But a dog can't be controlled like a gun, and since even guns are banned, it stands to reason to debate this issue. For the record, I am anti-gun legislation and I know two wrongs don't make a right.
01:05 July 13, 2010 by DAVID T
I think that whoever has a desire to own one of these dogs should be banned for life from having one. I see so many "MACHO" guys with big dogs but small dicks
03:08 July 13, 2010 by JosefEugen
Fighting breeds can tend to be dog-aggressive but not more human-aggressive than any dogs.
07:03 July 13, 2010 by krattan
This is a ridiculous problem. How many dog attacks have we got in Sweden per year? And what race of dog is it? The cute Golden Retriever is usually responsible for most attacks, of course because it is one of the most common dogs in Sweden. I'm only commenting on the subject as it obviously manages to stir up a lot of peoples feelings. And politicians manages to pick easy points. Seems democracy is dead when these types of questions floats up as the most important of the day.
13:32 July 13, 2010 by farnoxo
In "most" cases, when a dog attacks a humna it is a direct result of bad handling by the owners. Now, if the pooch in question is one of the silly little "I wanne be like Paris Hilton carpet poopers", then if it attacks someone (quite likely as they are agressive little s#¤ts) the damage will be a puncture hole on the heel. However, if a pit bull attacks someone the result will alsmost certainly be hospitalisation as they are very hard to ward off when they attack.

Consequently, owning a strong, fit fighting dog that is capable of maiming (or even killing) someone is the same level of responsibility as driving a car on public roads. A car is potentially lethal, and as a consequence we all (well, barring a few dodgy Stockholm taxi drivers) have had to undergo a set of rigorous written and practical tests to demonstrate that we have the right skills to drive a vehicle and not kill someone. The same can be applied to potentially dangerous dogs - at the very least owners should have to prove that they have the skills and aptitude to handle such a dog so that it will not be a danger to society.
03:35 July 14, 2010 by xenyasai
@Mr. Puppy: Nice way to defend your case, by first using ad hominem attacks and later on invoking the Godwin law. No wonder they are so quick to ban these dogs when owners like you are completely incapable of having mature and civil talk about it.

If it is true that they are going to kill all the dogs that are banned, I agree with you that it is sick. At least in Norway they are allowed to keep them when they banned some breeds. That is fair and reasonable.

What seems to happen each time this debate comes up is that the dog owners seems to cry foul, and that is it. What have you done to avoid a ban? What about talking, earlier, with thee politicians that you need some kind of license to own these certain breeds to show you will be a suitable owner?

Next time, try to leave most of your emotions out of the debate, if you are going to voice your opinion, because all you did was too show everyone how immature you are and it sadly feeds the stereotype of the owners of these breeds.

Talks about banning these breeds have been going on for years and owners like you have had all those years to try to work with the government to find a solution to not have these breeds banned. Sometimes you need to take action to make something happen, just voicing your opinbion will sadly most of the time do nothing.
07:54 July 14, 2010 by flintis
@ Ezee.se,

This is not about BIG dogs, this is about fighting breeds like Staffordshire bullterrier, American bulldog etc. I love big dogs & have had the honour to share several yrs with my best friend a Rhodesian Ridgeback who weighed in at a musculous 42 kilo, & would not hurt a fly unless he thought the fly would hurt me or my kids.

This is more about stopping morons having the chance to stage dog fights & keeping aggressive dogs off the streets. A bit like taking away a gun from a killer.
16:29 July 14, 2010 by J Jack
Perhaps they could also ban dogs that don't pick up their masters poo!
07:09 July 15, 2010 by wenddiver
The only type of dog that should have American in it's name is that eternal under-dog, the under appreciated, resourceful, thrifty, loving, brave little rescue dog we call the Mutt. As ussual nobody wants him, until we realise that everybody needs one.

I got mine from the Police Department, who took him away from an Argentine dog breeder who threw him out for eating his "bred dogs food".
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