Experts: Dog owners are the problem

Osman Cakli

WALL – The attack and injury of 4-year-old Asiye Ateş by a Pitbull dog in Antep sparked discussions that stray animals endanger human life. Including discussions that have been going on for days, President Erdoğan said: “We must not forget that the place of orphans is not the street, but the shelters. Then a circular was sent to 81 provincial governorates. There were sections in the circular that planned to take stray animals to shelters and nursing homes.

The Pitbull breed, which is the starting point of the discussions, and which other breeds are prohibited, the reasons for the ban, the situation in the world and the conditions in which they must be raised; Chairman of the Animal Behavior and Welfare Committee of the Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Gürbüz Ertürk and dog trainer Okan Arslan talked about it. Both experts say dog ​​biting is a natural behavior and that children under 12 should not be left alone with dogs in an uncontrolled way. On the other hand, Berfu Aytaç, who feeds the Dogo Argentino, which is one of the prohibited breeds, says he is “concerned about discrimination between species”.

Dr. Gurbuz Ertürk


The breeds of dogs that people can keep in Turkey are regulated by Animal Welfare Law No. 5199. In this context, breeds such as Dogo Argentino, American Pitbull, American Staffordshire, American Bully, Fila Brasilerio, Japanese Tosa are on the prohibited list. These breeds are banned in many countries around the world. According to the law in Turkey, these races; Traveling without a passport, mouthpiece or leash has been completely banned since January 14. Those who break the law, have the dog spayed and do not register it, will be fined 11,000 and their dogs taken away. While the fine can increase up to 30,000 lira in case of leaving the prohibited breeds on the street, the owner of the dog who is released in a situation that could endanger the life of others will be sentenced to 6 months in prison or a court sentence. fine. There is no information on why the breeds declared as “dangerous” in the law are prohibited. There are various country assessments regarding animal rights. For example, a total of 17 races in the EU, including races banned in Turkey, are subject to the ban.


Dr. Emphasizing that dog bites are a public health problem, Ertürk explains the measures taken against dog bites by giving an example from the United States: “The country that works best in this regard is the United States. United. There is a special week there. About 5 million people, mostly children, are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. In the week I mentioned, the topic “how to protect yourself from dog bites” is covered. The American Association of Animal Hospitals conducted a study in 2019. The purpose of the research is: What are biting dogs, how to get rid of them and how to raise awareness in society? As a result of research, Pitbull bites come to the fore. Because Pitbull’s jaw muscles are strong, he doesn’t leave the spot he’s in without breaking it. But four out of five dogs that bite are of another breed.


Ertürk adds that Pitbull dogs are easily aggressive and they are also easy to train. Dr. “Easy-to-train breeds like the Pitbull can be dangerous when they fall into the hands of the wrong people,” says Ertürk. He also adds that dog bites are an extremely natural behavior. He thinks people share the social life with dogs, so a common language should be established with the animals: “The widespread banning of breeds such as the Pitbull and the Dogo Argentino is due to their attack potential,” says -he, but specifies that the intention here is subjective. Dr. Ertürk said: “They are described as dangerous dogs in the law. These dogs are prohibited because the bites of these dogs cause larger sizes.

Berfu Aytaç and his dog breed Dogo Argentino.


Experts say the main thing to talk about is human factors. The common opinion among animal lovers is that the relationship people have with dogs determines dog behavior. Berfu Aytaç, who lives with his 11-year-old dog Dogo Argentino, says they have been together since the dog’s childhood. Based on his personal experience, Aytaç explains that dogs are not naturally aggressive: “I don’t believe that a dog is naturally aggressive. Dogs such as Pittbul and Dogo are specially trained in this way by some aggressive people. I don’t think a dog that grew up with love can attack.”

Dog trainer Okan Arslan also expresses an opinion in line with the experiences of animal lovers: “The problem that we have been experiencing lately and on the agenda is entirely man-made. Conscious adoption does not happen, the animals are left to fend for themselves. Dogs are not naturally aggressive. Dr. Ertürk also describes the “correct” process in dog character formation as follows: “Dogs should spend the first three months of infancy socializing. We know that dogs protect their territory, their puppies and their food. They also attack when they are worried. For example, if the dog has not seen a child running when he was a baby, his hunting instinct is triggered when he sees a child running when he is older.


Dr. Ertürk and Arslan also address another dimension of the problem. Both draw attention to the training of dogs that are endangered by the law’s definition in good conditions. They want the people who will own the dogs to be trained and even have certain prerequisites. He also mentions that dogs are sentient beings, Dr. Ertürk gives an example: “We hug our loved ones, but hugging a dog means defying it. You can be attacked. The way to know the living is to be informed and to inform.

Berfu Aytaç says that his dog Pablo has grown up socially and has a strong communication with people: “Pablo has his own staircase connected to the balcony. The children and the elderly come out and love Pablo and leave. He never attacked anyone. He doesn’t even know what attack means. I think it comes from love.

On the other hand, trainer Arslan states that there is a tendency to avoid animals in general, and he believes this is due to a lack of instilling love for animals: “At this stage, Conflicts can arise between dogs and humans. Dogs attack when they feel vulnerable. Our biggest problem is the lack of education. We must teach empathy and dialogue with other living beings from an early age. Knowing and understanding the dog’s reflexes is very important.


Stating that people and institutions with expertise should be involved in order to overcome the problems, Dr. Ertürk stresses that dogs and children are not criminals: “Keeping dogs in the dark is a common behavior in our society. However, if the dog knows the natural and the normal, he will be healthier. Think of it this way, if you isolate a person from social life, they will have a problem adjusting when they rejoin society. The same is true for dogs. »

Okan Arslan

Trainer Okan Arslan also explains that there is no racial discrimination in the training provided on shaping canine behaviors and living in harmony with humans: “There is no different training applied to a certain race. The training for the Golden Race and the Pitbull Race is the same. We don’t adopt a “it’s Pitbull, we have to work differently” attitude from early childhood. From the moment the dog enters human life, we must explain ourselves to him. The direction should be made with soft tones. Any punishment or violence highlights the instinct for self-preservation in the dog’s unconscious. In early childhood, studies based on socialization should be done.


As part of the ongoing debate over banned breeds, fines have begun to be imposed on dog owners who don’t have muzzles or collars on the streets. Saying that his own dog does not go out without a muzzle, Berfu Aytaç adds: “Maybe it will be completely banned or the penalties will increase in the future. At this point, I don’t think it’s fair to punish dogs. Dogs should not bear the responsibility of dog owners. As an animal lover, I don’t believe our feedback is as helpful anymore.

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