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Campaigners fight Norwegian BSL

DOG LOVERS in Europe have launched a robust defence against the Norwegian Government’s planned extension of Breed Specific Legislation which, if enacted, could see several breeds of dog banned.

As reported in last week’s OUR DOGS, 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, namely the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Fila Brasiliero and the Dogo Argentino.

This time around, the Norwegian Government is studying Germany’s draconian ‘Fighting Dogs’ laws, and plans legislation based on these, for no other reason, it seems, than that the German Government enacted the laws. 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.

German anti-BSL campaigner Cathie Detmar told OUR DOGS: "I have spoken with a friend in Norway who is fighting these planned laws. Some excellent progress has been made, although some of the news may not be so good.

"The proposal for the new law is set to come out in the next two to three weeks. It won't become official until after next March, so there is still some time to fight.

"The most disturbing comment was made by the Justice official (and he is the man responsible for the drafting of the new law), he said that he looked at the German situation and said: "if Germany has made laws to protect its citizens from fighting dogs/dangerous dogs...then why shouldn't Norway do the same?" It is this kind of thinking that is damned scary!

"All of the scientific facts I sent my friend and fellow campaigner Espen were on dog breeds in general. He brought photos of Bull Terriers, a genealogical history of the breed showing that its roots were established after dog fighting in England became illegal, plus some 'fluff' about Princess Anne being a breeder, etc. All of this seemed to help change his mind some."

Detmar added that Epsen he doubted the Bull Terrier would be included in their clause 'all breeds which resemble a pit-type dog in body characteristics be banned' because of its unique head and appearance.’ The Am Staff will, however, be included in the ban without question, as he had received numerous phone calls from people who say they are afraid of them.

Not confident

"It is the Staffie who will need the most help," says Detmar. "Espen did not think anyone had come foreward yet in defence of the Staffie. Espen pointed out that the Staffie was smaller than the Am. Staff...but did not feel confident enough that this would satisfy this man. I have contacted Dave Levy [the KC’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier Liaison] to see if he can get someone in Norway onto this.

"The Staffie is walking a thin line unless between now and next Spring, there is a major push to change the government’s minds."

The Norwegian Kennel Club is opposing the new legislation, saying that the Government should concentrate on punishing irresponsible dog owners whose dogs cause a nuisance, rather than the wholesale banning of a breed.

Phil Buckley of the UK Kennel Club said: "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.

"Whilst Norway is not part of the EU, it may still be the case that pressure can be brought to bear. The Kennel Club and other concerned dog lovers, under the banner of the Domino campaign - - 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:

Email Inge Lorange Backer at the Law Department:

Or contact the Norwegian Ambassador, Mr Tarald O Brautaset at:
The Norwegian Embassy, 25 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8QD
Tel: 0207 591 5500