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(Updated 25/02/01)

German import ban comes into effect

by Nick Mays

ON FRIDAY, February 16th 2001, tough laws regarding fighting dogs came into force in Germany when the Bundesrat (upper house of Parliament) decided on an import and breed ban on four dog breeds, despite numerous protests from dog lovers and the fact that such a ban is contrary to EU law.


Nearly eight months after the fatal attack by two fighting dogs on a six yaer old boy in Hamburg the law to fight dangerous dogs has come into force.


The Upper House passed the new regulations without much debate. According to this, the owners of so-called ‘fighting dogs’ will have to demonstrate their knowledge for keeping these dogs of these listed breeds.
Under the new law, it is now illegal to breed, sell of even keep ‘Fighting Dogs’ without a permit form the local authority. Anyone found to be keeping a ‘listed’ breed without a permit will be punished under the new law, facing up to two years in prison or a heavy fine.


A complete import ban applies for four breeds listed as ‘Fighting Dog breeds’, namely the Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bullterrier and Bullterrier, togetherw ith any crossbreeds of the same.
It is also forbidden in future to breed dogs if it has to be expected that the progeny will have a higher “inherited aggression level”, although just hwot he German authorities would determine such a factor is not stated.
German dog owner and vehement opponent of the ‘Fighting Dog’ laws, Meike Wollenweber comments on the the latest legal developments in Germany:


The new law, which had been given the blessing of the arbitration committee on the 7th February and has been passed by the German parliament on 8th February is going to change dog ownership radically. As hasty as the “shoot from the hip” acts of the State Administrations, the law has been pushed through the Upper House of Parliament and Arbitration Committee. This empowers the Ministers of State to make breeds extinct by regulation.


Opposite


Against all scientific knowledge and advice, the politicians kept to their decision, even though breeds hadn’t been proven to be aggressive or even - as with our Molosser breeds - had been shown quite the opposite tendency.
The following facts were created:


The import of dogs into German counties where they are on the lists of possibly aggressive breeds are banned.

This applies to 49 breeds all together, some of which don’t exist any more, some only in very small numbers, some only in the imagination. Mainly it concerns 40 breeds, amongst them some of the Molosser breeds represented by our association. Bringing them into Germany (for example on transit, for shows or holidays!!) isn’t permitted and border controls will be erected for this purpose.


Every county which bans breeding, trade or passing on for a donation can fine perpetrators, with the option of up to two years in prison. The dogs and all items used (cars, boxes, crates) will be confiscated. The same applies to keeping a so-called dangerous dog without a permit.


For dog owners paragraph 13 of the Constitution will be restricted. Any representative of a Government department has to have access to living and business accomodation, sites and modes of transport (cars, vans) at any time, has to be able to view papers and to check the dogs. Data protection of the Inland Revenue will be lifted to get information about registration or reports at any time without having to ask for permission.


The animal protection laws will be changed and empower the minister to pass a number of measures, for example to introduce compulsory ID of animals, especially dogs and cats, to define himself what aggression means (without having to get any expert opinion!!) and to put a breeding ban on by designating so-called ‘cruel breeding’ and ‘aggression breeding’. It may come as no surprise that the the report on cruel breeding by the Ministry for Agriculture is 150 pages long!!!


Exterminated


This means that the - with the exception of Doberman and Rottweiler - all 49 foreign breeds (if they haven’t died out 200 years ago) will be slowly exterminated by law. We could, in theory, work with our own breeding dogs for two to three generations, if breeding will still be allowed. But who would want a dog who comes with a guarantee for


1) Fighting dog tax of up to £ 600 annually
2) recurring visits from civil servants and the police
3) being ostracised by society, as the politician are demanding
4) being spied on and denounced, or, as it is now called “social control” of the neighbour
5) character test, dog driving licence, running to the authorities and all the hassle that brings.


Even if only some of the breeds listed in the cruel breeding report will be included in the following years, this would bring the breed diversity down by about 150 breeds.


Rulings of all kinds up to bans on the breeding and keeping of dogs will affect sundry small breeds and all breeds which are more than 40 cm high. Your imagination can try to find the few possible survivors.