Comparison of the legislation regarding dangerous dogs between five federal states of Germany
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Every single federal state of Germany regulates the issue of dangerous dogs individually. There are two legislations on federal level concerning dangerous dogs, the Act on restriction of keeping or importing dangerous dogs into the inland (Gesetz zur Beschränkung des Verbringens oder der Einfuhr gefährlicher Hunde in das Innland- HundVerbrEinfG, 12-04- 2001) and the Law on regulatory offences (Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetz- OwiG, 19-04-2001), § 121 (1) “Keeping of dangerous dogs”. Each state has its own dog law, and they differ more or less from each other. The 18 case studies, received from the five states of Lower Saxony, Bavaria, Berlin, North Rhine- Westphalia and Baden-Wuerttemberg, exemplified the disparity of the respective legislations. It is prohibited in some states to take a dog to certain places whereas in other states, it is allowed. This does not make ownership easy, since it is difficult to look through all the different legislations. Another problem seems to arise from the incongruity of the term “dangerous dog” or “fighting dog”, which makes owning a dog more difficult. In some states certain breeds are believed to be dangerous and therefore it is prohibited to keep such a dog, whereas in other states, the same dog may be kept without any keeping conditions. As demonstrated on the bases of several researches, no differences can be made between breeds concerning inadequate aggressive behaviour. Therefore the breed-list in the 14 states of Germany should be abolished and socialization of dogs and competent handling of the dog by its experienced owner should be encouraged. Some regulatory authorities order to visit a dog school to improve the better handling of the dog. This seems to be a major step forward since the behaviour of a dog is always connected and influenced by its owner. A uniform regulation is highly recommended to provide insight and understanding of dog keeping conditions. This could also prevent the accidental purchase of an unwanted breed and therefore prevent certain dog breeds ending up in animal shelters. The Dog License Fee is enacted by every single federal state individually and serves to obtain tax revenues as well as to limit the amount of dogs (and dangerous dogs) in communities. This regulation is also confusing, since the financial contributions differ in a wide range between each community. The capital of Lower Saxony Hannover, for example, collects a higher tax for dog breeds believed to be dangerous, although Lower Saxony does not even possess such a breed-list. A uniform regulation in this case as well would prevent certain breeds living in animal shelters, since some dog owners do not seem to be aware of the fact that the Dog License Fee in some cities of Germany amounts to 2.000 euro. Moreover, the Dog License Fee should be abolished, since no tax for any other animal exists and most of all living beings should not be taxed. The goal to protect human health and safety from any danger can be achieved, if everyone knows how to keep and guide a dog in a safe way. It is therefore strongly advised to create a uniform regulation in Germany to make the conditions easier to understand and ensure they are less misleading.