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BSL reaches Rio

DOG OWNERS of certain breeds are going to need a hefty insurance policy as well as a lead when they take their dogs for a walk in Rio de Janeiro, thanks to the City’s introduction of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).

The Brazilian city’s mayor Cesar Maia issued a decree requiring the owners of Pit Bulls and other “potentially dangerous dogs” to carry insurance policies of at least 100,000 reals (£30,000) to compensate the victims of attacks.

The decree also requires owners of the dogs to be older than 18 years of age, have no record of violent crimes and to prove they have the physical and mental aptitude to control the dogs.

“The measure, based on successful experiments abroad, is part of a series of actions aimed at alerting the owners and defending the population from these dogs,” reads the preamble to the decree.

It is believed that Maia’s administration copied parts of Germany’s draconian ‘Fighting Dog’ laws wholesale, in order to be seen to be ‘doing something’ about a spate of dog attacks in poorer areas of the city, although many dog owners are angry that their breeds have been deemed to be ‘dangerous’

The other dogs covered by the decree are: Rottweilers, Dobermanns, Bull terriers and, surprisingly, the Fila Brasiliero. The choice of a native Brazilian breed on the List of targeted breeds is unusual, as many other nations have slavishly avoided including their own national breeds, as in the case of Germany and the German Shepherd Dog.

Dog owners who do not comply with the law will be subject to fines ranging from 200 reals (£60) to 2,000 reals (£600).

Pit Bull attacks are a fairly common occurrence in Rio, where the dogs are a favourite companion of members of a violent subculture of Jiujitsu practitioners known as ‘Pit Boys’.