Seven-year-old killed by German Shepherd in North Moravia

Dog which killed the boy, photo: CT 1

Last Friday a seven-year-old boy was killed by a German Shepherd dog in the town of Rumburk, north Moravia. When the boy's body was found police first suspected that he had been killed by a brutal sadist, before realising that the killer was in fact a German Shepherd owned by a neighbour of the boy's. The dog's owner has been charged with endangering health and could face up to 8 years in prison. Meanwhile police are deciding what to do with the dog itself. Ian Willoughby spoke to Josef Holejsovksy of the state veterinary office and began by asking him if it was time to start thinking of German Shepherds as a dangerous breed of dog.

"I would not say that this breed of dog should be included on any list."

But they have killed people before.

"Really, everybody should consider which breed of dog he will keep. Such a breed is not suitable to be kept by everybody, or by old people and so on. To say that it should be listed on any list of breeds that should be forbidden to be kept - that's not a solution."

Should the conditions for getting a licence to have a dog be more strict?

"Perhaps for some breeds there should be something like a licence for keeping special breeds - perhaps. Perhaps it should be discussed in special organisations of cynology, the keeping of dogs and so on, veternarians, and then say that not everybody can have a big dog. I don't want to mention breeds. As you know many breeds have been designated as dangerous, but the German Shepherd was never one of them."

The dog which killed the boy in Rumburk has not been put down. I'm surprised by that.

"I'm also surprised that anybody will take this dog and keep it."

Five people have offered to take the dog.

"That is really big courage. But who will give the guarantee that this dog will not come in the situation that brought him to do what he did."

Do you think the dog should be put down?

"I would recommend it."

Big dogs are often allowed to run free, their owners do not keep them on a leash.

"That's not good. There is a solution - the solution is the law about municapilities."

Do you think the current law is enough?

"The law is enough, but it's not applied."