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Dangerous dog legislation in a shambles in Portugal

By June 21, 2016September 11th, 2021No Comments

Further to the recent news item (July 31st 2015) concerning a man who was badly injured by a dangerous dog on Quarteira beach*, enquiries into the current laws covering dangerous dog breeds and their owners’ responsibilities, have revealed a legal mish-mash that remains unresolved.
The modus operandi regulating ownership of dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs remains unpublished, two years after the proposed law made training mandatory.

The law prescribes a set of conditions for the owners of dangerous dogs (defined as dog breeds with a history of violence) or potentially dangerous dogs (defined as having scary physical characteristics), which included a “proof of training” from a registered training provider.

Owners must ensure their animals have been fully trained on a registered course on which their animal successfully has been ‘socialised.’

This training must be administered by registered ‘training institutions’ but there are none in existence as inexplicably and inexcusably, guidelines and standards have yet to be published and the many professional trainers ready and willing to take on the work are prevented from doing so after two years of inexplicable delay.

The Ministry of Agriculture weakly commented that “a draft ordinance is being prepared establishing the requirements for the certification of trainers and for the training of dangerous dogs, it is awaiting approval.”

The government Directorate-General covering the veterinary profession (DGAV) said there are 19,382 potentially dangerous dogs currently registered and 1,606 dangerous dogs in Portugal.

All of these animals are illegal under the law as training has not been given as there are no registered trainers or courses, yet there have been 1,658 court cases since the law came in to being two years ago, some of which have resulted in penalties and fines or simply a good telling off.

Other cases have been filed “due to the inexistence of the necessary elements for the delivery of the sentence,” ie the judges have realised that owners are prevented from following the law as it is impossible to do so.

With regard to prison sentences, since the law provides for punishment with “a term of imprisonment up to one year or a fine of up to 360 days,” for anyone who, “by negligence, has on the road, in public places or common parts of urban buildings, a dangerous or potentially dangerous animal, or registers a blood alcohol level greater than or equal to 1.2 gl” the DGAV says it has no data.

This situation is a mess with laws passed that can not be adhered to by any owner of a breed of dog that needs a training certificate.

Source:- Algarve Daily News