Berlin sets curbs on dangerous dog breeds

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The Independent Online

German dog-lovers who choose their pets with patriotism will soon have to swap rottweillers for poodles, when city authorities in Berlin bring in sweeping laws to ban "dangerous" breeds.

German dog-lovers who choose their pets with patriotism will soon have to swap rottweillers for poodles, when city authorities in Berlin bring in sweeping laws to ban "dangerous" breeds.

Under the new legislation, tabled by the city's senate, a number of dogs, including pitbull terriers and dobermanns, may no longer be bred or bought in the capital, nor can they be purchased elsewhere and then be brought to Berlin.

Those who currently ownthese breeds will need to have their dogs examined by authorised vets, who will then decide whether they constitute a danger to the public and need special training or should be confined to an animal home. Aggressive dogs will have to be muzzled and kept on a leash. In extreme cases, vets will have the power to order a dog to be put down.

The move follows a long debate over a considerable increase in attacks by aggressive dogs in Germany in recent years. In Bremerhaven, a pitbull seriously injured five people earlier this month.

In North-Rhine Westphalia, meanwhile, dog owners will be held personally responsible for attacks causing injury or death and in severe cases could be charged with manslaughter.

Animal rights campaigners warned that the dog ban will only increase the pressure on animal refuges and not tackle the root of the problem.

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