Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567

(Updated 22/4/01)

German cities ban ‘fighting dogs’ on public transport

by Nick Mays

THE LATEST discrimination in Germany against dogs of certain breeds - and their owners - comes in the form of a ban prohibiting ‘fighting dogs’ from being carried on public transport.

The VBB public transportation corporation in Berlin and Brandenburg enacted a ban in March prohibiting up to 15 listed ‘fighting dog’ breeds from travelling on buses, trams and trains. Despite such a ban being legally questionable, as well as protests from around the world at such blatant anti-dog discrimination, the corporation has refused to lift the ban.

More recently, in the city of Munich, the public transportation company Münchner Verkehrsverbund (MVV) has decided that, from June 2001, it will no longer permit the transport of ‘so-called’ fighting dogs in any of its vehicles.

German anti-BSL campaigner Gabi Woiwode from Bavaria was, like many dog owners, outraged by the proposed ban and contacted the MVV press office to find out why they were planning such a move.

Familiar

“My first question to the press office spokesman was whether he is familiar with the wording of the dog edict,” says Woiwode. “He admitted that he was not familiar with it, but that there would be no need for he has the photos of the dog breeds concerned.

“I told him that in Munich there are just three dog breeds registered where the term ‘fighting dog’ would be legally correct. All other dogs are of category 2 status, and once they have proven that they are not dangerous (by a temperament test), they are - by law - not fighting dogs.

“The official’s response was almost beyond belief. He said he doesn’t really mind, they would follow the ‘trend’, in many cities where they are banning ‘these’ dogs now and added that the railway company would also ban them. He also said he did not care when I told him that there might follow court trials as this regulation does not correspond with the Bavarian Dog Act, which means that the company are violating the rights people have from the dog edict.”

Woiwode also asked the spokesman whether there had been any complaints over the proposed ruling, but he declined to answer. There was also little comfort forthcoming in response to her next point.

“When I told him that he is punishing innocent people that have no other means of transportation and depend on public transport, that this discriminatory campaign has already taken the life of human beings - he simply said; ‘Any rules always are punishing innocent people.’

Unfriendly

“At the end of our conversation, he tried to comfort me by saying; ‘why do you have a problem with this rule, rest assured that you can take your dog’. I tried not to be unfriendly or impolite but I told him clearly that I surely will not use a transportation system that is discriminating against friends of mine who do have so-called ‘fighting dogs’.”

Woiwode concludes that the whole episode is typical of the hard-hearted approach to BSL in Germany, and can only see the situation getting worse. She says: “ This all just gives you an impression how pointless it is to talk or put factual arguments; ...discrimination and hate are so ‘trendy’ over here. They don’t want to know the facts, they just want to be rid of the dogs and their owners.”