Owner of illegal pit bull terrier to fight ban

BANNED DOG: Pit bull terrier Champ which is being held by the MSPCA
while its future is decided

A LONAN woman who owns an illegally imported American pit bull terrier from Northern Ireland says the pet is harmless and she should be allowed to keep it.

Sara Kneen, 29, has been told she has to find a new home for her dog Champ in the Republic of Ireland where such breeds are still legal.

Currently the dog is being held at the MSPCA at Ard Jerkyll but if a new home is not found in the next few weeks it will have to be put down.

Sara has drawn up a petition of doleance to stop the dog being put down before an expert from the UK comes over to look at Champ Sara says she believes he may not actually be an American pit bull terrier although government experts say that has been confirmed.

>> Your Shout: Re-homing pit bull terrier

Sara says pit bull type breeds have had a lot of bad publicity but dogs which attack humans usually do so because they have been badly treated.

'These are actually very good family dogs, but any dog in the wrong hands is a bad dog,' she said.

She said that singling out a particular breed was 'racism against dogs'.

She is planning a protest march to raise support for Champ and prevent him from being put down.

And she has set up a Facebook page for Champ describing her pet as an 'American Pitbull' but adds he is not vicious but a 'mommy's boy' and a 'perfectly healthy soft creature'.

Fellow Facebookers are urged to support Sara's campaign to keep the dog in the Isle of Man.

Sara says when she acquired the dog from a friend she did not know that it was an illegal breed.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said it was quite clear that the importation of pit bull terrier breeds was against the law under the Wild Animals Act 1980.

But a DAFF spokesman said no legal action would be taken against Ms Kneen as she did not import the dog to the Island and it is not necessarily illegal just to own one.

Following a spate of attacks by pit bull breeds in the UK the Isle of Man acted to ensure such breeds were not imported here.

The department said that when it was discovered that a pit bull terrier type dog had been illegally imported to the Isle of Man from Northern Ireland, where these animals are also illegal, it was required by law to take ownership of the dog.

'The Isle of Man Government has a duty not to allow these animals back into the public domain on the Island after they have been captured,' said a DAFF statement.

'Under the act DAFF is required to dispose of the animal.

'A specialist $#@!essment of the dog has been carried out, with the conclusion that it could only be trusted 75-80 per cent with humans and not at all with other dogs.

'In fact with other dogs it is considered dangerously aggressive.

'Pit bull terrier types of dogs are not domestic pets, they are potential killers and should no suitable home be found off the Island this dog will have to be put down.'

>> Your Shout: Re-homing pit bull terrier

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