sues woman for 'defamation of dogs'.
LEADING city lawyer in Germany has instigated proceedings against a Hamburg
librarian for her inflammatory remarks against the owners of so-called
Fighting Dogs in a German newspaper.
Günter Stück who is the owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier
has taken out an indictment in the Hamburg courts against Frau Barbara Duden.
Herr Stücks action was lodged at the Hamburg Public Prosecutors
Office on February 24, 2001.
The indictment reads: I begin by requesting a public prosecutors
investigation with the aim of lifting the immunity as well as the induction
of criminal proceedings against: Frau Diplombiliothekarin Barbara Duden, citizen
of Hamburg on account of... stirring up hatred...
Herr Stück explains that he is 63 years old and a leading supervisory
judge in institutional law, holding the legal seal of the state of Hessen.
He also explains that for four and a half years he has been the owner and handler
of an American Staffordshire Terrier named Chico, who has been known for his
friendliness. Herr Stück holds an experts certificate for ownership
of the dog (classified as a Fighting Dog under Hessen law), whilst
Chico has passed his Mandatory temperament test.
The indictment continues: Frau Duden, citizen of Hamburg made the following
call on June 28, 2000, in the Bild Zeitung (newspaper), page 4 concerning the
Fighting Dog Question... under the heading Actung: New regulations
are required. There is something the citizens can do too. Fighting dog owners
need to get a collective warning. They must themselves learn that it in not
great and in to own a fighting dog.
Herr Stück says: The deliberate use of the word Achtung
implies - as a look at a meanings or synonyms in the German language book shows-
a disparaging, stigmatising, discriminatory and calculated effect. It is necessary
to bear in mind that Frau Duden is well educated and because of her job, well
read, and conscious of her choice of words.
Her call (for action) fails to differentiate between the owners of so
called fighting dogs - rendering the concept nonsensical - that
they are all genetically and cynologically identical.
So she talks to me, not only of the demand for collective action but,
however, explains that I appear to have an inferiority complex or bats in the
belfry. She must be made to understand that I am not prepared to put up with
Frau Duden has, for some time now, clearly refused to apologise for her
Herr Stück continues, pointing out that whereas certain politicians had
made inflammatory remarks about the need for harsh laws to control the ownership
of Fighting Dogs, Frau Dudens remarks called for a social
response by citizens against Fighting Dog owners. The implication
is clear, as many dog owners and their dogs were verbally abused in the streets,
spat at and on several occasions, attacked by other citizens, largely as a response
to media and political hype.
Herr Stück concludes: I judge Frau Dudens outburst as thus
aimed at discriminating between people and that it was made without any restriction.
That the word Achtung - with benevolent consideration - has a discriminatory
and disparaging effect - and in common usage or context is so, is beyond dispute.
It is my opinion, that to raise such a public demand, against people today,
My family and I have personally experienced what it is, in the 21st century,
to be collectively acted against, through our own dog and without
having given the slightest cause. Or how should one describe it when one is
spat at, harassed, insulted, gaped at, avoided, the dog kicked etc? This is
how we are expected to learn that it is not great or in
to own a fighting dog, according to the last sentence in the statement.
The indictment is now awaiting a court hearing to determine whether or not Frau
Duden is guilty of inciting violence against dog owners. If found guilty, she
faces a possible custodial sentence and will almost certainly lose her job as
The general consensus of opinion amongst anti-BSL campaigners world-wide to
the news of Herr Stücks action was one of encouragement. Leading
campaigner Gabi Woiwode from Bavaria commented: Here we have a dog owner
who is prepared to use the law to protect dogs and other dog owners from the
sort of abuse from other citizens which the newspapers are only too happy to
print. It will be interesting to see the result of this case.