Two breeds of pit bull terriers to be banned starting March: COA

Taipei, Feb. 4 (CNA) The Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA) recently reminded prospective dog owners that two specific breeds of pit bull terriers, American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers, can no longer be owned without registration starting March. 1.

The new regulations come in the wake of a spate of attacks by pit bull terriers in Taiwan, including one in which a three-year-old boy died after being bitten by a pit bull owned by his neighbors in Pingtung County in December.

Currently, six breeds of dogs are categorized by the COA as “aggressive”: pit bull terriers, Tosas, Neapolitan mastiffs, Brazilian mastiffs, Dogo Argentinos, and other mastiffs.

Recently, COA official Chiang Wen-chuan (江文全) reminded pit bull terrier owners that an amendment to the Animal Protection Act had been introduced beginning Oct. 26, 2021, whereby American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers have also been included on the list of “breed(s) of animals whose ownership, export and import have been banned by the central competent authority.”

As such, the two breeds will no longer be available to new owners, Chiang said.

He also reminded current owners and importers of the two breeds who acquired their dogs before March. 1, 2022, to register the animals with their city or county of residence before Feb. 28, 2023.

Once registration is complete, changes in status and location of both dogs and owners must be promptly registered with the relevant authorities, Chiang said.

In accordance with the Animal Protection Act, he added that private owners would not be allowed to breed American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers in the future.

Government-registered breeders will be allowed to continue to breed the dogs so long as the litters are also registered after their birth, with ownership rules also applied, he said.

However, Chiang warned that the generation of puppies sired by the first registered breeding dogs could not be used to breed future litters.

In addition, if registered owners intend to either give away or sell their registered American pit bull terriers or American Staffordshire terriers after March. 1, the new registered owner must be someone who has experience owning the breed before.

Chiang said that violators would be subject to fines of between NT$50,000 (US$1,796.94) and NT$250,000.

But Chiang assured avid pit bull lovers that the strict regulations to be imposed starting March. 1 would only apply to the two aforementioned breeds.

However, he added that pit bulls are still generally categorized as “aggressive” and so could only be walked in public by an adult and must be properly leashed and muzzled at all times.

Recent statistics released by the COA’s Department of Animal Industry indicated that as of Dec. 15, 2021, a total of 199 American pit bull terriers and 31 American Staffordshire terriers have been registered, while 2,407 pit bulls of other breeds have been entered into the system by their owners.

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