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Italy says “ciao” to its dangerous dog list

Unlike a lot of American cities, and the U.S. Army, the country of Italy is wising up when it comes to labeling dogs as “dangerous.”

A new law goes into effect in Italy next month that does away with the country’s list of “dangerous” breeds and insteads holds owners responsible for their pets’ behavior — whatever breed it is.

Under the old law, owners of pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, bull dogs and 13 other breeds, were required to keep them muzzled in public places, and failure to respect the law could result in the animal being put down.

The new law works on the theory that any dog could be potentially high-risk and holds the owners or caretakers responsible for controlling a pet’s behavior.

“This is a historic day because we have established for the first time the responsibility of the owner or the person who is momentarily in charge of the animal,” Health Undersecretary Francesca Martini said earlier this month.

“The measures adopted in the previous laws had no scientific foundation. Dangerous breeds do not exist. With this law we have overcome the black list, which was just a fig leaf (over the larger problem), and we have increased the level of guarantees for citizens,” she said.

The new law requires vets to be responsible for compiling a register of individual dogs who they believe may be potentially high risk. Owners of those dogs will be required to keep them muzzled in public.

The law also requires dog owners to keep their pets on a leash at all times in urban areas, pick up their dog’s mess, and to carry a muzzle with them in case of need.

It also forbids training dogs to be aggressive using sticks and protective body gear, doping, surgery that is not for health purposes and dangerous cross-breeding.


Comment from chloelouise
Time May 8, 2009 at 12:10 am

I have been trying to move to Europe for many years, now my kids are gone and I finally have the chance. Last summer, after recently acquiring my “Ronnie” I visited France and found inexpensive houses but much to my surprise i also found out about the dangerous dog law. Now I am focusing on Italy. It sounds like I will be able to move there with my “Amstaff” mix. He definitely fits the dangerous dog “type” described by the UK. Does anyone out there know any more info on this topic.
Ronnie’s mom–sherry–chloelouise