updated 6/16/2008 3:39:10 PM ET 2008-06-16T19:39:10

A spate of maulings by pit bulls prompted Guyanese authorities on Monday to ban imports of the breed into the South American nation.

Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud told reporters the import ban would last until Guyana's lawmakers review the matter in coming weeks.

"I am not sure that we want these dogs," Persaud said. "We have to see whether these types of animals are suited for this country."

Public debate about the breed erupted when a pit bull escaped from a yard and severely mauled a jogger in the capital. The victim had to be flown to the U.S. for reconstructive surgery to his hands, legs and upper body.

In May, a 58-year-old security guard died after he was attacked by a pack of pit bulls.

Pit bulls are often kept as pets in Guyana's residential areas or for commercial breeding purposes.

Current owners of pit bulls will be allowed to keep their dogs only if the animals are registered. Those who don't comply could have their dogs seized and can be fined.

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