Friday, 16 November 2007

dna testing of shelter dogs to find dangerous breeds

When people ask me what breed Penny is, I just say she's a mutt. I've had lots of fun wondering what genetic heritage she has and I was mildly interested, as I blogged on 7 October, to discover that it is possible to test dogs' genetic heritage and work out what breeds are in their ancestry.

However, I have just read an opinion piece in seattle about the possibility of insurance companies demanding that household insurance policies specify the genetic heritage of dogs living in the home.It seems like science fiction, but who, twenty years ago, would have foreseen the technologies that we take for granted today?

The writer, Dee Carlson, suggests that it could be required as part of home insurance for you to analyse the breed of a shelter dog before you take it into your home.

On reading the 'comments' section of the article, I found that one person accuses Dee Carlson of having a hidden agenda because she breeds akitas. I did a Google search on her and found an article she has written for akita owners about the dangers of letting these dogs interact with children or other dogs. I guess if you follow the recommendations set out by ARMAC (Akita Rescue Mid-Atlantic) you can be sure your dog does not get into trouble, but it seemed to me you would have to have a special love of this breed to keep one.

It was the list at the bottom of the akita rescue site that astonished me. It is a list of the breeds that have been declared 'dangerous' in different parts of the US. There are seventy-five breeds! Amongst them are labrador retrievers and airedales!

I was so taken aback by this huge list that I searched for more information and came across a book called Fatal Dog Attacks. The write-up of the book says, in part:
There seems to be an ever growing expectation of a "behaviorally homogenized" dog - "Benji" in the shape of a Rottweiler. Breeds of dogs with greater protection instincts or an elevated prey-drive are often unfairly viewed as "aggressive or dangerous". No breed of dog is inherently vicious, as all breeds of dogs were created and are maintained exclusively to serve and co-exist with humans. The problem exists not within the breed of dog, but rather within the owners that fail to control, supervise, maintain and properly train the breed of dog they choose to keep.

Any dog, regardless of breed, is only as dangerous as his/her owner allows it to be.

The Kennel Club in the UK also discusses the issue in a page titled The Kennel Club Proposes Alternative To Dangerous Dog Amnesties Here's a quote from that document:
Research shows that this is influenced most by the dog’s owner, the environment it lives in and the training it is given. In the wrong hands, any breed of dog can be dangerous - the number of dog attacks by breeds other than those on the dangerous dogs list illustrates this. Similarly, any dog that has been trained by its owner appropriately and sufficiently should not be outlawed or destroyed based on its breed alone.

No comments: