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(Updated 25/5/01)

Federal breed ban in turmoil

The ban on so-called 'Fighting Dogs' enacted by the German Federal Government has been dubbed "a satire" by one of the German Parliament's main Opposition parties.

The law, which was signed by President Johannes Rau in April bans four Bull breeds of dog - The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Stafford and the Pit Bull Terrier - from entering Germany is already under investigation by the European Commission for flouting the EU 'right of passage' laws with no justifiable scientific reason. Dog exhibitors of these breeds throughout the EU, including the UK are also angry that they are prevented from attending German dog shows because of the law.

Last week, a Parliamentary discussion on the Fighting Dogs Act was called for by the Free Democratic Party, during the course of which the absurdities and contradictions of the new law, and the Government's list of exemptions was thrown into stark relief and, unusually, the unwelcome attention of the German media. FDP spokesperson Gudrun Kopp declared: " There is chaos in putting the Fighting Dogs Act into effect."

As a result of an application by the FDP members of the Consumer and Home Office gave their point of view on problems regarding travelling with so-called fighting dogs. A list of exemptions is being drafted, which are to apply to people travelling into with 'dangerous' dogs of the listed breeds.

Import restrictions will not apply to:

1.) Tourists who are coming to Germany for two to four weeks, which means:

Dogs on breed lists, which have been declared dangerous by the red-green Coalition Government can be brought into Germany by tourists without any problems.

2.) People with Service or Supportdogs.

There is an interesting contradiction in the views of the government, that so-called 'dangerous fighting dogs' are seen as being able to be trained as Guide Dogs or Assistance Dogs

3.) Dogs belonging to Ambassadors Ambassadors are allowed to bring so called fighting dogs into Germany, although serving military personnel are not.

Members of the US Forces in Bavaria have been asked to dispose of their 'Fighting Dogs' a.s.a.p.

Gudrun Kopp declared roundly: "What chaos in Government! It shows very clearly that the German Government doesn't have any knowledge and shows again the stupidity of trying to decide by breed which dog is dangerous. The Dangerous Dogs Law has to be taken off the books as soon as possible as it limits data protection and civil rights.

"What works to protect against dangerous dogs is the character test, the 'dog driving licence' for owner and a law against puppy mills. The FDP will do all that it can to oppose this foolish law."