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Berlin politician crusades for health of skateboarding dog

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Berlin politician crusades for health of skateboarding dog
File photo: DPA
16:02 CEST+02:00
Can a canine enjoy skateboarding? That's the question Berlin politicians are struggling to address in a row over a dog on four wheels.

“To what extent is the district office aware of the situation that for months now a bulldog has been seen skateboarding on Alexanderplatz daily?” local representative for Berlin Mitte Martina Matischok-Yesilcimen asked in a written question on May 12th.

It's not hard to find traces of the skateboarding dog – whose name is variously reported as “Buddy” or “Lenin” in local media – on YouTube and other social media.

His owner was even interviewed by the Berliner Kurier in January, and said that “he [the dog] loves standing in front of an audience”.

To most people the spectacle might look like harmless fun designed to earn a few coppers from tourists and provide a moment's entertainment amid the bustling crowds of the travel and shopping hub beneath the famous TV tower.

But Matischok-Yesilcimen, Social Democratic Party leader in Mitte, has questions about the animal's welfare.

In her written question, the representative asks whether district vets have examined Lenin and whether the situation might be an infraction against animal protection laws.

But so far the borough authorities have not encountered the four-wheeled pooch in their patrols of the area.

“There was no evidence of the presence of a dog owner with a dog riding a skateboard” when vets looked into it, the answer from the district read.

“There would be danger to the dog's well-being if services were being demanded of it linked with pain and suffering to the animal,” the answer continues.

But they add that “a judgement [on the dog's condition] is impossible without observing the animal” - which so far they haven't been able to do, despite tweets going back to 2014 describing a similar performance.

"Just crazy annoying people and a bulldog on a skateboard in the middle of it. Alexanderplatz is like the internet in real life," one person wrote almost two years ago.

Whether Lenin's shredding abilities match those of Otto the bulldog, who set a Guinness world record by skateboarding through the legs of 30 people in Peru in 2015, has yet to be determined.

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