A ban on the sale of potentially dangerous canine breeds like the pit bull terrier and Japanese Tosa remains in place, but the internet continues to provide a platform for illegal sellers to thrive.
Under Turkey’s Animal Protection Act, pit bull terriers, Tosas and other breeds posing a danger to humans are banned from being bred and sold, and those violating the laws are fined. Yet, some websites offer a place for pitbull breeders to sell the dogs under the guise of “adoption.”
Hakan Yıldırım, a pet shop owner in Istanbul, said these breeds of dogs are secretly raised and sold online. “Pet shops are banned from selling pit bulls, but you can see them on sale online. They are advertised as 'for adoption,' but the truth is they are sold for a certain price,” he told Demirören News Agency (DHA).
Tayfur Göksu, a veterinarian, said pit bulls are among his patients. “We often receive pit bulls that are injured, bruised due to illegal dog fights. Some are tortured with cigarette burns. These are banned breeds but the public has a tendency to violate the ban. There should be more measures, more inspections in place to end the breeding practices,” he said.
Deniz Aygün, who heads the veterinary department of Büyükçekmece Municipality in Istanbul where rescued pit bulls are given shelter, said in Turkey pit bulls are usually raised for fights, whereas they are “trained for babysitting abroad.” Aygün said they hosted some 150 pit bulls in the shelter, which provides them rehabilitation.
“They either run away from their owners or are abandoned by their owners when they fall weak after brutal fights. We call on people to tip off authorities if they come across pit bulls,” Aygün said.