Portugal still waiting for legally-required dangerous dog trainers

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 30-08-2012 09:16:00 · 1 Comments
Portugal still waiting for legally-required dangerous dog trainers

While special training for dangerous and potentially-dangerous dogs was made a legal requirement in Portugal in 2009, it may prove hard to do, as the authorities responsible for certifying the trainers have yet to put the cogs into motion.

Last month alone, five dangerous dog attacks made headlines.
Three people, including a five-year-old girl, were seriously injured and two people were killed in the attacks, highlighting the regulation of dangerous or potentially-dangerous dogs in Portugal.
It emerged that, despite being a legal requirement, compulsory training for dogs classified as dangerous or potentially-dangerous may be hard to find as there are apparently, as yet, no registered trainers.
Proper obedience and socialisation training with a registered professional is one of several obligatory conditions to owning a dangerous or potentially-dangerous dog. Failure to do the training can entail fines of between €500 and €3,740.
In 2010, the government made it the PSP and GNR police force’s responsibility to evaluate and certify trainers. Two years later little progress appears to have been made.
In a statement sent to The Portugal News, the Ministry for Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Land Planning explained: “The General Directorate of Food and Veterinary delegated the certification of trainers to the Public Safety Police [PSP] and the National Republican Guard [GNR]”, who were asked to present a model of evaluation to be approved by the General Director of Veterinary Medicine

“We are waiting for those police entities to publish dates and locations and proceedings to start the certification process”, the Ministry said, adding: “As the training profession is not regulated it is not known how many people are exercising the activity at present.”
Potentially-dangerous dogs are dogs of a particular build and nature that could cause injury or death to humans or animals. There are seven listed breeds considered potentially-dangerous from the offset – the Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Pittbull terrier, Rottweiler, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier and the Japanese Tosa Inu.
Dangerous dogs are those that have attacked a person, killed or injured an animal while out of its owner’s possession, or have been declared so by the owner.
Owners of dogs of both categories must be over the age of 18 and have a special licence, renewed annually. Obtaining a licence requires that the animal has an anti-rabies vaccine, a microchip, insurance and the owner’s criminal record, among other things.
According to the Ministry for Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Land Planning, there are currently 15,662 potentially-dangerous dogs registered on the national database, and 1,437 dangerous dogs.
When in public the dogs must be muzzled, kept on a lead measuring a maximum of one metre, and can only be walked by over-16s.
Among the more shocking dog attacks to make news in recent months was an incident that happened on 24 August, when a 46-year-old woman was mauled and killed by her son’s Pitbull-Rhodesian Ridgeback cross in Matosinhos.
On 16 August a Dogo Argentino attacked a five-year-old girl in Guimarães, causing serious head injuries, and three days earlier, on 13 August, a 20-month-old baby was killed after being bitten by a dog of the same breed.
On 8 August, news channel SIC Notícias reported that a postman had been attacked and seriously injured by three Boxer dogs while delivering letters in Lourinhã, and on 4 August an elderly woman was hospitalised after being set upon by two dogs in Vila do Conde.
Two other serious dog attacks took place in March this year, when a six-year-old child was mauled by an American Pitbull Terrier and a 13-year-old girl was mauled by a Rottweiler.


Staffordshire's are NOT a dangerous breed in any way shape or form!! In fact, the opposite, in the UK, they are one of the only dogs recommended for families. Having had 3 of them who have all been amazing family pets -I totally and utterly disagree with the Portuguese government saying they are a dangerous breed!!!!

It's the owners who should be put on a register - dogs only do what they are trained to do and if they have got the kind of irresponsible owners that train them to attack (as any dog could be!!) then they should be punished not the dog. Can a dog speak and tell you what has happened? - no! Can a dog tell you it is being mistreated because it is being trained to do bad things? No! Can a dog tell you it doesnt like what it is being trained to do? NO!! AND if, as in this article "while out of its owner’s possession " - then why is it out of the owners posession - ALL dogs should be walked and kept with their owners - not left to wander around the streets on their own - as is so often the case here in Portugal. I have never seen so many dogs being left to walk themselves as I have whilst living here. It is absolutely ridiculous! Would you let a child walk out on its own and expect to know what to do? NO!
When we went to get all our staffies, all from rescue - we were vetted to see if we were suited for staffies, they came to our home, to see our family to make sure we could provide and safe and loving home to our lovely Staffies.

Unfortunately, our 3 year old staffie Ted, was stolen from our garden here in the Algarve, 4 years ago, 3 months after we brought him here with us to live. He was fully vaccinated, has a passport and is fully chipped. We have heard nothing about him since. He had a fabulous personality, was really funny and a great family pet - great with all our grandchildren and neighbours. I just dread to think what has happened to him.
I sincerely hope somebody sees sense with this very soon and do something about the irresponsible owners!!

by Sue Ketley from Algarve on 02-09-2012 09:54:00
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