Bullmastiff dog laying down. Photo: Getty slyncher00
Egypt has banned the majority of dog breeds after issuing a controversial edict that allows only 10 types of dogs to be kept as pets and imposing heavy fines for people who keep any of the banned breeds.The new “Regulation of the Possession of Dangerous Animals and Dogs” bill was introduced on the 29th of May, and sparked concerns for dog enthusiasts and animal rights advocates in the country. It was imposed after a man died after being attacked by a pit bull.
The law means that most dog breeds are effectively deemed “dangerous” and unsuitable for ownership without thorough “safety” inspections. A copy of the new laws published in the Egyptian Official Gazette will require all pet owners including the banned dog breeds, tigers, and lions to register their animals with the authorities for inspection. The law will allow ownership of only 10 select breeds without “safety” inspection – the cocker spaniel, labrador, poodle, Malinois, Pomeranian, Jack Russell, Great Dane, white shepherd, Maltese dog, and Samoyed – and imposes stringent regulations on breeds like the pitbull, rottweiler, German Shepherd, boxer, husky, Caucasian shepherd, and bullmastiff. These breeds will be subjected to a thorough government safety licensing process.The law says that dogs deemed unsafe will be “confiscated” by public veterinarians without providing any further details.“It’s like passing a law prohibiting people from driving cars because of a car accident,” Mona Khalil, chair of the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals told Ahram Online, an Egyptian news outlet.“We were also taken aback by the list of banned breeds, which includes dogs commonly allowed in other countries. There are clear discrepancies in the list. For instance, one dog breed is prohibited, but is also listed as permitted under a different name. This indicates a lack of understanding on the part of the drafters of the law regarding dog breeds, their actual traits, and their level of aggression.”As part of the registration process, pet owners must pay a fee of up to 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,620, £1280) to Egypt's General Organization for Veterinary Services.The bill stems from a tragic incident in February, when Mohamed Moheb Al-Mawi, a banker in Sheikh Zayed City, in the Greater Cairo Area, went into a coma and died after being attacked by a pit bull belonging to his neighbour. The incident fuelled a heated debate over public safety and prompted authorities to take action to regulate pet ownership.The legislation also comes amid a growing trend for having pets in Egypt, mainly dogs. With more Egyptians embracing the companionship of animals, lawmakers argue that stricter regulations are necessary to ensure responsible dog ownership and safeguard public welfare.