Canine lovers protest for dogs' rights
Canine lovers in Hamburg who complain of a dog's life for their pets are calling for a change in the law on breeds classed as dangerous.
With the changes to dog laws currently being up for discussion, owners of controlled breeds claim their animals are being discriminated against. They want the rules to be relaxed and took their protest to a square in the city's old town on Saturday.
"All animals are the same," Jule Thumser of the so-called Dog Lobby told the German Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper. "The breeds of dog that are considered dangerous here are family dogs in France or in the United States."
Thumser was one of 150 people who took part in the demonstration. At present, dogs such as the pit-bulls and bull terriers are categorised as "irrefutably dangerous." Owners must hold a special behaviour permit for their pets and pay for a €600 annual licence. Dogs also need to be muzzled and leashed in public.
A similar demonstration took place in Düsseldorf the previous weekend, when some 340 people took part in an organised walk with animals classed as fighting dogs.
"It is not fair, the way these dogs are treated," said organiser Christoph Oehl, who has organised the event for the past five years. "If a dog is aggressive, it has something to do with the owner and not with the breed."
Dangerous dog laws were introduced on a Germany-wide basis in response to attacks on people, but the enforcement is administered by individual states. The issue comes up for debate in Hamburg later this month.