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Norway extends BSL


NORWAY IS planning to extend its Breed Specific laws by banning a further three breeds of dog, following intense media agitation after a number of attacks on people attributed to ‘bull terrier’ breeds.

The Norwegian Ministry of Justice is considering a ban on The American Staffordshire terrier, The Staffordshire Bull terrier and the Bull Terrier.

Norway introduced BSL in the mid 1990s, based on the UK’s own flawed Dangerous Dogs Act, even going as far as banning the four breeds named in the DDA, named the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Fila Brasileiro and the Dogo Agentino.

This time around, the Norwegian Government is studying Germany’s draconian ‘Fighting Dogs’ laws, conveniently ignoring the fact that these have been shown to be unconstitutional, as well as deeply unfair and unjust. The Norwegians are considering an additional ban on any kind of Wolf Hybrid, which is said to include Irish Wolfhounds, Sarloos Wolfhond and the Czechoslovakian Wolfhound, although this may be a simple case of politicians failing to understand that the word ‘wolf’ in the breed’s name has nothing to do with the breed’s ancestry.

Although no other breeds are listed in the extended BSL, the Ministry intends to frame the law in such a way to make it possible to ban any new breed ‘comparable to fighting dogs’ according to its physical attributes, in much the same way as the German laws encompass many breeds purely on the basis of size.

The Norwegian Kennel Club is opposing the new legislation, saying that the Government should concentrate on punishing irresponsible dog owners whose digs cause a nuisance, rather than the wholesale banning of a breed. The term ‘Punish the Deed, Not the Breed’ is being conveyed strongly to the Norwegian Ministry of Justice from anti-BSL campaigners across the world

Poul Poulsen, of the European Legislation Department of the Washington Animal Foundation, which is fighting BSL in the USA and Europe, urged dog owners to register their protests with the Norwegian Government, as well as Inge Lorange Backer at the Norwegian law department. "They must be made to see that BSL does not work," said Poulson.

Phil Buckley of the Kennel Club told OUR DOGS: "The Kennel Club is very dismayed to learn that Norway may now be following Germany's lead and example by attempting to proscribe against both the Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and it would appear that Norway are simply looking to copy Germany and are using the same arguments to do so.

"It continues to astound us that, without any scientific evidence or statistics, overseas Governments, time and time again, take it upon themselves to come to the conclusion that Staffords and Bull Terriers are inherently aggressive to humans, when we are well aware that this is simply not the case. In any event, there is scientific evidence that proves conclusively that Breed Specific Legislation is not the answer and does not work, so we would reiterate the Domino campaign message of 'Punish The Deed Not The Breed'!

"We have written to the Norwegian Kennel Club offering our assistance as we are led to believe that they will be protesting against this draconian anti-dog legislation, and both myself and Caroline Kisko, KC Secretary, are travelling to the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday the 1st October for the European Pet Night to discuss various EU canine issues, so we'll take the opportunity to discuss this matter further with the MEPs. Whilst Norway is not part of the EU, it may still be the case that pressure can be brought to bear. On our return from Brussels, the Kennel Club and other concerned dog lovers, under the banner of the Domino campaign - www.dominodogs.org - will be looking at ways to assist Norwegian dog lovers and request help from UK dog owners to bring pressure to bear."

To register your protest against the proposed Norwegian BSL, please fill out the comments form at: http://odin.dep.no/jd/engelsk/dep/spm/e-post_statsraad_a/index-b-n-a.jsp
E-mail Inge Lorange Backer at the Law Department: mailto:inge-lorange.backer@jd.dep.no - or contact the Norwegian Ambassador, Mr Tarald O Brautaset at: The Norwegian Embassy, 25 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QD, tel: 020-7591 5500.