In an earlier story, it was reported that the Marine Corps had banned three breeds of dogs from living in Marine housing because they were potentially dangerous. They gave the dogs 60 days to pass a personality test or move off the base.
The first groups of dogs were tested at three bases in South Carolina by experts from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Out of 85 dogs that belong to the breeds banned, only two were found to have a “potential to be aggressive and could pose a danger to other Marines and their families.” They were asked to leave the base.
The other 83 dogs were given a waiver and are welcome to continue living on Marine installations worldwide until 2012. Two of the 83 dogs showed aggressive tendencies, but the ASPCA experts thought they would be fine with further training and getting neutered.
The Marines banned purebred and mixed dogs from three breeds they determined to be aggressive: Rottweilers, Pit bulls and wolf hybrids. The ban came after two incidents where children were attacked. In one case a 3-year-old boy was killed while in the other attack a 9-year-old girl was maimed.
When the ban was announced, animal rescue groups worried that many of the dogs would be surrendered to municipal shelters or abandoned. They encouraged Marines to apply for the waiver and they listed the names of dog trainers on their websites.
But the Marines at the Paris Island Marine Recruit Depot, the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and the Beaufort Naval Hospital happily surprised everyone by having their dogs assessed and overwhelmingly passing the test.
The ASPCA pointed out to officials at the base that although they tested the dogs, they did not agree with a breed specific ban.
“We believe breed bans cannot be effective because of this. We found some really great animals and families,” said Weiss who prefers individual personality assessments.
“We don’t think it’s a breed issue. We think it’s an individual behavior issue, and what we saw at the base verifies that.”
Captain Brian Block, a Marine Corps spokesperson noted what happened with the 3-year-old child from Camp Lejeune and said, “Having one dog who would do that is not an acceptable risk from our point of view.”
“If the dog passes the temperament test, that’s great. The dog gets the waiver,” Block said.
The rest of the Marines on other bases have until October 11, 2009 to have their dogs tested and receive a waiver. Let’s hope they have similar results as the bases in South Carolina.
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