Dangerous dogs: must we put an end to the law on the categorized dogs?

Since 1999> , there exists in France a law on the so-called "dangerous" dogs, classified in categories 1 and 2. While this law is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary, let us ask about its interest: is it really necessary?

To the summary of this article:

  1. What does the law say about dangerous dogs?
  2. Is this law valid?
  3. But what problems does this law pose?
  4. Prevention against bites: the solution?

What does the Dangerous Dogs Act say?

The 1999> law, which was adjusted in 2008, classifies dogs into two categories:

Category 1 dogs : American Staffordshire terrier (so-called Pitbull dogs) ), Mastiff (Boerbulls) and Tosa (all not registered in the LOF - Book of French Origins). The acquisition, sale or donation of first class dogs is prohibited in France

Category 2 dogs : American Staffordshire terrier, Tosa, Rottweiler (all registered in the LOF) and non-LOF dogs assimilated to Rottweiler. The future owner of a category 2 dog must undergo training and obtain a detention permit. The dog must have undergone a behavioral evaluation. In all public places, the dog category 2 must wear a leash and a muzzle (More info on service-public.fr ).

This law, which may seem restrictive, even unfair in the eyes of some, therefore aims dogs known bitters . An image that is regularly and widely conveyed by the media

Is this law founded?

The law on dangerous dogs was produced in a heated media context , explains us Dr. Stéphane Tardif, behavioral veterinary doctor: "following a controversy over the presumed dangerousness of certain dogs, the legislators responded to public pressure by producing this text, without however having a sufficient dialogue with the scientific authorities, in particular veterinarians, who were unanimously opposed to a racial classification, for example."

Emmanuel Tasse, president of the American Staffordshire terrier breed club, is fighting against the so-called" dangerous "dogs law. In 2006, he created the 4C , a collective of professionals of the Dog (scientists, veterinarians, canine educators, breeders, behaviorists, economic actors of the canine environment, etc.) advocating the revision of this law and the implementation of a real policy of prevention of dog bites. Assuming that this law has no scientific basis , this collective aims to demonstrate its ineffectiveness in reducing the number of dog bites. "There are 300,000 dog bites a year, a bite every two minutes. Only 5% of dogs are categorized. So we would like us to believe that this law will prevent bites when it concerns only 5% of dogs? Emmanuel Tasse asks,

Some people are more likely than others to be bitten by a dog, are you?

American Staffordshire is the 6th favorite dog of the French

But what problems does this law pose?

If this law is questioned nearly 20 years after its creation, it is because it is "counterproductive", according to the founder of 4C: "Not only is it not scientifically proven, but it makes people think that there are only three races that bite! ". For Chantal Hazard, retired teacher educator of the National Education and founder of the PECCRAM (Education Program to the Dog Knowledge and Risk of Accident Bite), "these laws are imprecise since any dog ​​not registered in the LOF and resembling to a Staff may be recognized as dangerous. It is therefore based on purely morphological criteria. Other dogs of attack or defense will paradoxically not be considered dangerous if they do not have the morphology defined by the law whereas poorly educated, these dogs could to be just as dangerous."

Another problem with this law is more of a social order:" C to make laws about so-called dangerous dogs is to classify these dogs as FRONT to be dangerous therefore encourage them to do so to respect the social image that is expected of them, "says Chantal Hazard. And to illustrate: "All the paperwork related to the possession of this type of dog is very expensive (insurance, behavioral evaluation, special training of 7 hours to have the permit of detention of such dogs categorized) and are not effective. In fact, regulations that are too strict automatically lead to sometimes deliberate drifts in humans to project through the dog a need for social disobedience ". The image we have of these dogs, which is conveyed in the public opinion, does not help: "The media describe these dogs as dangerous, some owners will use this criterion to reflect the social model of 'a dangerous human / dog couple. This is also dangerous, "adds Chantal Hazard.

Despite its imposing physique, the Rottweiler is no more bitter than any other dog

Finally, the so-called dangerous dogs law has the consequence the practice of thousands of euthanasia: " 20,000 euthanasia since 1999> , only because of morphological criteria," says Emmanuel Tasse. "So it's euthanasia every eight hours! ". At the same time, he adds, "the number of bites has increased by 40% since the introduction of this law". And because of the "crime of dirty mouth" which they are victims, "categorized dogs struggle to find adopters," said Emmanuel Tasse. It should be noted that, paradoxically, despite the negative image that they often refer to, the Staffordshire and American Staffordshire are ranked 4th and 6th in the ranking of the favorite dog breeds of the French!

Dogs of category 1 and 2 are they really dangerous? The answer in video:

So must we remove or modify the law on dangerous dogs?

For Dr. Tardif, there is no doubt: " the law does not meet the need that it is supposed to satisfy, and deserves to be modified, to integrate in particular the data of the modern ethology , and to modify the current exacting and often not very effective procedures ". An opinion that corresponds to that of the French: according to a survey AllCreatureAnimalClinic, for 53% of them, it is necessary to amend the law on dogs called dangerous. For 24%, it must even be completely removed. In contrast, 22% of respondents believe that it should be kept as it is.

For Vianney Pouyat, dog-trainer, "we must stop thinking that these dogs are accessible to anyone! The problem with these breeds is that they have always been in fashion for 25 years, and that anyone adopts them... People who take them almost always underestimate the problems they face and then there are accidents ... ", he says. With an "on-the-ground" experience of 8 years, the dog-trainer ensures that "from the age of aging, between 4 and 7 years, these dogs pose more problems when they are in homes a little lax".

If Vianney Pouyat is not opposed to the removal of the law, he would like to see the emergence of "a protocol with detention permits and behavioral assessments for dogs, and skills for teachers, with regular training courses. All dog owners, regardless of breed, would be concerned. "However," he says, "this is a line that I do not want to wear officially because I feel that there is a conflict of interest between offering this type of placement, and lobbying for it to be part of a legal protocol for the detention of certain dogs."

But then arises the question of the modification of this law: how could it evolve? Eva Dia, founder and president of the association Gueules d'anges (which works in favor of categorized dogs), on the principle that "dogs of category 1 and 2 are not, for this reason, day, not the most biting dogs, "would like a generalization of the law for all dogs. " The detention permit should be mandatory for all dog owners, all breeds ", she estimates.

She also proposes a review of the behavioral assessment to which the dogs of Category 1 and 2 are submitted: "During the behavioral visit, the veterinarian gives a score of 1 to 4 (rating that defines the level of socialization and behavior of the dog - 1 being the best score and 4 the lowest). In France, it is a ranking that has consequences for the lowest scores (3 and 4). However, in other countries, the positive notes have a positive consequence and, for example, the wearing of the muzzle is no longer mandatory. In France, no benefit results from dogs that are assessed well balanced ", She laments. The President of the Gueules d'Angels also recalls that "the law isolates these dogs because of their prohibition to go to certain public places, and the absence of communication by mouth because of the muzzle, which has as a result of making them less sociable."

Even the" dangerous "dogs need social interaction!

The 4C collective, meanwhile, puts on" a real policy of prevention of bites of dogs ". This would result in: compulsory identification of dogs (which is already mandatory but still too infrequently applied since 25% of dogs are currently not identified), mandatory reporting of bites (estimated at less than 1 % cases of bites actually reported), the establishment of a national structure to collect the data resulting from bites case reports (to analyze and understand them in order to better adapt the prevention policies put in place. the setting up of a system for the identification of potentially dangerous dogs (according to their own behavior and not their race) and - after analysis - of measures adapted to each case (examples: leaves, muzzle, training of the master, etc.). Finally, more generally, the 4C collective wishes to implement a global awareness and information strategy aimed at all.

Prevention against bites: the solution?

Let them be said « dangerous "or not, all dogs (even the nicest dogs!) are likely a day to bite. Chantal Hazard insists that despite their physical strength and jaw strength, categorized dogs "are dogs as wonderful and affectionate as others if they are educated and socialized in all kinds of environments." All dogs must be educated and socialized and it is the lack of education that creates damage and bites.

The important thing would not lie in judging a dog on its racial characteristics but in knowing how to detect the warning signals of a bite, regardless of the dog. To do this, prevention seems to be key: "The PECCRAM program aims to educate children to become the educated adults of tomorrow, and ambassadors to adults on how to deal with all dogs," says Chantal Hazard. In this sense, the founder of PECCRAM would like propose "systematically a small training to any new dog owner" . A training that is moreover "increasingly demanded". But for this initiative to achieve its goals, the former teacher would have to "make it mandatory and funded so that the money test is not a drag."

Whereas the law on so-called dangerous dogs will celebrate its 20 years in 2019 , would not it be the moment to think about its revision? Since ideas are not lacking and means exist, it remains only for the state to put them in place... but it is still necessary that he has the will. Let's hope, then, that the government is aware that the bite is a public health issue.

See also: These photos will prove to you that "dangerous" dogs are in fact the best companions in the world