French dog seeks political asylum
SARREBOURG, France. A 13-month-old Rottweiler named "Kaya" has captured the attention of French magistrates, politicians and perhaps even President Jacques Chirac in a last-minute bid for a stay of execution, thanks to a huge campaign by French dog lovers to spare her life.
The dog's attorney, Nadia Weiler-Strasser, has recently applied for "political asylum" for her client, explaining that "in legal terms, there exists an area in international law under which anybody who is persecuted for their race or religion can request asylum."
Whether the subject is a human or a dog is irrelevant, she claims, citing that an international charter on animal rights signed by France allows Kaya to be considered on the same footing as a woman or a man. In addition, Ms. Weiler-Strasser states that there are various foreign interests in Germany and Switzerland ready to take in the canine refuge-seeker.
Kaya's plight began on March 20th when she was spotted wandering through the streets of Sarrebourg without a muzzle or leash as required for Rottweilers under Breed-Specific French dog laws. When police approached, Kaya's owner reportedly fled without explanation. The dog, which has no known history of aggressive behaviour, was seized by authorities and sentenced to be put down, in accordance with the law.
Jean-Francois Raffy, the spokesperson for the Prefecture de la Moselle (Office of the Regional Governor) stated, "We don't know what it's been trained for", adding that if Kaya turned dangerous in the future, the Governor himself would face the legal consequences.
Since then, the Prefecture has been besieged with pleas on behalf of Kaya from the general public. Initial protests were rejected by the local Administrative Tribunal on March 23, but in a subsequent appeal, Mme Bernadette Malgorn, Préfet de la Région Lorraine, agreed to allow for a one-month period of observation, during which the dog's fate will be determined.
Surprisingly enough, no-one has been able to detect any dangerous tendencies in the dog during her imprisonment. Reportedly, even the veterinary surgeon assigned to observe Kaya has refused to perform the 'execution', stating that the pup "exhibits no sign of aggression in normal situations... it will make another, well-balanced master very happy."
There has been no formal response from President Jacques Chirac, who is currently campaigning for next month's national elections- in which he is facing popular competition from one notable opponent, a dog named "Saucisse".