"In My Crosshair"
The new tax for the owners of dangerous dog breeds comes into force
From February 1st the owners of "dangerous" dog breeds in Belgrade will be subject to a special monthly tax of 2,500 dinars (30,000 dinars annually). The breeds designated as such are Pit Bulls, Bull Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers as well as all their inbreeds. Furthermore, in this category will be listed all dogs who have attacked or killed men or other dogs, who have taken part in dog fights and those who are trained for guarding property. The Veterinary Direction's data reads that some 3,753 people in Belgrade are listed as owners of dogs that fall into these categories.
The new legislation also states that from now on these categories of dogs can be taken for a walk only on a leash and with a muzzle and only by adults, who will be able to present the animal's so-called passport upon request.
The payment of the new tax will be made through the city administration for public revenues that will start sending notices and collecting money in February. The city officials say that such a tax is customary in most of the EU countries. The money gathered in this way will be used for "new [dog] asylums, fenced areas in parks for letting the dogs off the leash" while a part of the money will be sent to the fund from which the city pays compensation to those who have been attacked by dogs.
Most of the dog owners are, to say the least, infuriated. The major problem is that the regulation does not take into account that most of the "dangerous" dogs only become such if their owners train them and that most of them have never acted in dangerous manner. On the other side, more than half of the attacks on people in Belgrade have been perpetuated by stray dogs of which there are about 15,000 lurking on the streets of Belgrade.
The most apparent effect of this taxation will be to make people think twice before obtaining a potentially dangerous breed of dog. But will it (or how) ever be effectively imposed remains to be seen.
Vladimir Dulovic was born and raised in Belgrade, where he studied history and kafanas extensively. Today he still studies kafanas but worldwide and in his spare time writes and edits travel guides for Komshe publishing house. He enjoys sharing his controversial views on his livinginbelgrade.com blog.
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