|courtesy of fairdog.dk|
According to the report the number of dog bite incidents measured before and after the BSL was implemented, increased by 26%. The number of bite incidents where one of the 13 banned breeds are involved, have decreased. Before BSL was in effect the banned breeds accounted for just 6,5% of all dog bites, and this decreased to 4,7%.
Do breeds bite?
The report is based on research of official records from the police and veterinarian's, and additional resources like the Internet and reports from individual owners. The association "Fair Dog" emphasizes that this is NOT a statistic. But a compilation of the facts at hand.
There are still no reliable statistics available in Denmark about what breeds are involved in bite incidents. Neither was that the case before BSL was implemented. How politicians plan to measure the effect of their law, remains therefore a mystery.
The conclusion we can take from the report, is the lack of a causal relationship between dog breeds and dog bites. As many countries already researched and concluded before Denmark. Denmark now has it's own first indication, laid out in a well-prepared report, it merely has been repeating the mistakes of others.
The report also mentions a couple of news reports that were brought by the media during last year, as examples of their flawed reporting on dog bite incidents. The media seems to take any dog bite incident up as a claim that dogs belonging to the banned breeds still bite. Here are some headlines:
"Banned dog behind bars"
Reading further will reveal it actually is about a German Shepherd that was spurred to attack by its owner.
"Hunting dog killed by banned dog"
Autopsy later revealed the dog was run over by a car, not bitten
"Two attacks by banned dogs running loose"
Which turned out to be Great Danes.
The media have not reported on the research of "Fair Dog", although the report was send to relevant politicians and the media by the association. The media is still focused towards sensational stories, despite them claiming the opposite in their answer to the open letter I wrote. They play a doubtful role in the Danish BSL story at the least.
I am worried for the Rottweiler. The Rottweiler is listed in the report in the top 10 of dog bite incidents - next to breeds like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Dachshunds, German Shepherd, etc. I am afraid pro-BSL politicians misuse that element from the report - while ignoring the obvious conclusion that breeds don't bite - and continue with banning them too. They already put the Rottweiler on the observation list. How convenient.
There are 16.000 registered Rottweilers in Denmark. I suggest to their owners to make their voices heard. While they still can.
The association "Fair Dog" was erected at the start of this year as a response to the BSL in Denmark. Their goal is to create fair conditions for all dogs in Denmark, based on a sound and scientific basis. Fair Dog acts as a network for experts and interestgroups, that all work together to abolish BSL in Denmark by 2013, the official date politicians have planned to re-evaluate the BSL laws.
You can find the complete report here: http://www.fairdog.dk/pdf/undersoegelse-juni-2011.pdf, copyright Fair Dog. It is in Danish unfortunately, although the breeds and numbers will need little translation.
- Open letter about BSL was answered ... was it?
- Danish breed ban rests on historically thin basis
- A week of discussing breed bans without facts
- Open letter to Merete Eldrup
- How BSL can bring a whole country into madness
- BSL up close and personal