New ‘dangerous dog attack’ horror as training courses at last get underway

With Portugal’s ‘dangerous dog’ legislation the subject of renewed pressure, there has been another horrific attack – this time by a loose, unmuzzled “Staffie” (Staffordshire Bull Terrier) – which burst into a lift in a suburban apartment block and attacked a young Poodle and its owner.

Luís Ferreira, 59, said if it hadn’t been for the doors closing and the dog suddenly leaving the lift as they shut, he doubts he would be alive today.

As it is, his four-month-old pup Kiko died of his injuries, despite the efforts of a veterinary clinic.

Ferreira, too, was so traumatised by the events of a morning that should simply have involved a gentle stroll in the neighbourhood of Odivelas, near Lisbon, that he had to be treated for problems associated with high blood pressure in Loures’ Hospital Beatriz Ângelo.

Ferreira is now determined to “advance with every complaint possible”, he told tabloid Correio da Manhã.

Odivelas PSP have since “identified” the dog’s owner, who now faces a fine of anything from €750 to €5000.

Meantime, the dog has been put into a 15-day period of quarantine at the local pound, during which his medical and emotional condition will be “evaluated”.

By law, the dog should not only not have been out loose on his own, he should have been muzzled.

This is just the latest in a litany of attacks that have been highlighted since a Rottweiler savaged a four-year-old in Matosinhos on the April 25 Bank Holiday (click here).

That particular dog has since been removed from his owner and is purportedly being trained up to work for GNR police.

This could, feasibly, happen with this latest incident.

The Staffie is unlikely to be ‘euthanised’ as this is only used as a ‘last resort’ solution, head of the country’s veterinary association José Cid has told reporters – stressing that until dangerous dogs are “properly checked” in Portugal, these types of horror stories will continue.

Animal associations have also reported a “crazy number” of people reacting to recent ‘bad press’ about dangerous dogs and wanting to give up their family pets (click here).

One of the many ‘grey areas’ in Portugal’s legislation covering dangerous dogs is the failing to carry-through a number of demands, including the proper training of all owners so that they can control their animals properly.

The reason this has not been happening – despite being a prerequisite of ownership since 2013 – is that authorities have not been able to agree a price for the training, nor have training centres been set up.

According to reports, this is all now in hand, and courses should begin in October.

Needless to say, there is still no word on how much the courses will cost, nor where they will be.

Jorge Cid has told CM that even when these details come out, there will be other logistical questions, as training may not result in a dog, or indeed owner, ‘passing’ and becoming ‘certified’.

“What will happen if a dog is not given the necessary certification”, he queried, adding that it will also “not be easy” to suddenly train-up so many owners and their animals.

At present there are believed to be 1496 dangerous dogs in Portugal, with another 16,276 of breeds considered ‘potentially dangerous’.

CM adds that since the beginning of 2017, GNR and PSP police have registered “more than 100 attacks by these dogs on people”.

Little Kiko from Odivelas is not included in this data, as his was an attack by a dangerous dog on a (non-dangerous) dog, and these frequently happen without owners even reporting them, as very often the ‘guilty owner’ takes financial responsibility for all veterinary fees on the understanding that no police report is filed.

Thus, the enormity of dealing with the problem of dangerous dogs in this country is finally emerging. Jorge Cid told CM that countries like the UK, which has what he termed “advance canine culture”, dangerous breeds are ‘falling into disuse’ and “attacks are rare”.

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