Political decision-makers in Lower Austria have presented plans to change a controversial ruling which allows small breeds like Chihuahuas and dachshunds to be declared as guard dogs.Peoples Party (ÖVP) official Karl Bader announced today (Mon): “Some people registered their lapdogs as watchdogs as the law is unclear. That is why we plan to change the current rulings.”Speaking to Heute newspaper, Bader explained dog owners paid the lowest dog tax amounts if their canines were officially registered as guard dogs.Erich Königsberger of the Freedom Party (FPÖ) is outraged about plans to alter provincial bylaws. “Barking alone can prevent burglaries since it alerts residents. Plans to change the rules seem to be nothing but a rip-off.”The debate comes on the back of ongoing discussions over dog-keeping laws. Pet NGOs and dog-keepers pressure groups have criticised authorities for failing to create rulings on a federal level. They said the current situation with nine different laws was not acceptable.Researchers Oekonsult found a vast majority of 83 per cent of Austrians want tougher rules for the ownership of “potentially dangerous” breeds. The poll also revealed 52.6 per cent think the owners are responsible for their pets aggressive behaviour.Around 5,900 people are hospitalised in Austria every year following dog attacks, according to research by the Committee for Traffic and Leisure Time Safety (KfV).Vienna City Hall introduced a so-called dog-keeping licence for owners of 12 breeds considered as potentially dangerous like Dogo Argentino and Rottweiler earlier this year.The regulation came into force following a referendum in February in which 85.9 per cent of participating residents of the capital backed the idea of setting up a dog-keeping licence for owners of “combat dogs”.