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German court rules ‘mixed messages’ on BSL

BREED SPECIFIC Legislation in Germany was under the public spotlight on Tuesday of this week when the Constitutional Court – the highest court in the country – gave its long awaited ruling on the two key facets of BSL in Germany, namely the Import Ban and the Breeding Ban on four so-called ‘dangerous breeds’ of dog.

The news was relayed to OUR DOGS on Tuesday afternoon, just before we went to press, by anti-BSL campaigner Cathie Detmar. The initial ruling was that the Federal Government’s Import Ban on the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Stafford, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and English Bull Terrier is correct. According to the court, these breeds are considered dangerous and the safety of the (German) people comes first.

However, it was very much a mixed message as regards the ban on breeding these and other so-called ‘dangerous’ breeds. The court ruled that it is up to each individual State Government in Germany to decide whether breeding is allowed or not. According to Detmar: "The reason decision to impose bans was given to each state, is because the federal breed ban was created from the animal protection law, which says these breeds cannot socialise with one another – and this is nothing to do with the safety of people. On this premise, the federal breed ban was thrown out, which has very interesting implications for the many individual lawsuits against various States which have ‘dangerous dog’ breed Lists."

A full report on the court ruling and its ramifications will appear in next week’s OUR DOGS.