Hold your hounds, dog lovers! A new law in Egypt is causing a global uproar among canine enthusiasts and animal welfare advocates.
Egypt has introduced a controversial bill named the “Regulation of the Possession of Dangerous Animals and Dogs”, which effectively bans the majority of dog breeds. Under this law, only 10 types of dogs are allowed to be kept as pets without undergoing a “safety” inspection, while the rest are deemed “dangerous”.
The Incident That Barked Up the Ban
In February, a tragic incident in Sheikh Zayed City, Egypt, saw Mohamed Moheb Al-Mawi, a banker, attacked by a neighbour’s pit bull. This led to a coma and eventually, his demise. This tragedy spurred public debate and ultimately resulted in Egypt’s new “Regulation of Ownership of Dangerous Animals and Dogs Law”, which was introduced on May 29th.
The Elite Egyptian Canine Club
Here’s where it gets intriguing. Egypt decided to play favourites and created an exclusive list of ten dog breeds that can enjoy a life of luxury without any safety inspections hounding them:
- Cocker Spaniels
- Jack Russells
- White Shepherds
- Great Dane
A plethora of breeds have been labeled as “dangerous” and are now virtually banned. Owners of these breeds are required to surrender their dogs within a month. Including:
- Pit Bulls
- German Shepherds
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Alabais (Central Asian Shepherds)
- Dogo Argentinos
- Cane Corsos
The destiny of these surrendered dogs remains uncertain, as there’s no official word on what will happen to them.
The Price to Pay: Fines and Fees!
If you thought the breed ban was the whole story, there’s more! Egyptian pet owners have to cough up to 50,000 Egyptian pounds (around £2,400) per animal in registration fees. If an unregistered dog attacks someone, the owner could face a minimum of six months in prison. If the attack proves fatal, that shoots up to at least 10 years behind bars!
A Paw Through History: Dogs in Ancient Egypt
Dogs have been revered in Egypt since ancient times. They were considered sacred, and their images have been found in ancient Egyptian art, often depicted alongside Pharaohs. The Pharaoh Hound and the Basenji, both believed to have originated in ancient Egypt, were especially esteemed.
Surprisingly, Egypt’s own ancient breeds didn’t make the cut in the elite club. The Pharaoh Hound and Saluki, which have historical ties to the region, are noticeably absent from the list of breeds exempt from safety inspections. This has raised eyebrows and questions about the law’s understanding of dog breeds and their historical significance in Egyptian culture.
How Does the UK Stack Up?
The UK has its own breed-specific legislation, but it’s far narrower. The UK focuses on Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, and Fila Brasileiros.
One of the major bones of contention is the focus on specific breeds rather than on individual dog behaviour or owner responsibility. Critics argue that the “deed, not the breed” should be the focus, and that responsible ownership and education should be promoted over blanket breed bans.
Campaigns such as “End BSL” (Breed Specific Legislation) have gained traction in the UK, advocating for a change in the law. They argue that the legislation is outdated and ineffective in reducing dog attacks. Additionally, critics claim that it is unjust to label entire breeds as dangerous, as this can lead to the unnecessary euthanization of dogs based solely on their breed, regardless of their temperament or behaviour.
Organisations like the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, and numerous dog owner groups and individuals are part of a growing chorus calling for a review and reform of the Dangerous Dogs Act. They advocate for a more evidence-based approach that considers individual dog behaviour, owner responsibility, and proper socialisation and training of dogs.
The bark for change in the UK is strong, and advocates are tirelessly working to shift the focus from breed to deed. In this light, Egypt’s new sweeping law has reignited discussions on the effectiveness and ethics of breed-specific legislations around the world.
What Do You Sphinx?
As dog lovers and responsible pet owners in the UK, let’s cherish the companionship of our diverse canine friends and continue to advocate for laws that are fair, compassionate, and based on sound understanding of animal behaviour.
As you stroll with your beloved pooches, spare a thought for your counterparts in Egypt, and let’s hope for a future where man’s best friend is judged not just by its breed but by its character.