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05 March 2002

Secretary of the Environment Baerbel Hoehn: Proposal for national dog law is brought to the federal state parliament The Ministry for Environment and Environmental Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection publishes the following: After appropriate basic rules have been laid down by the ministry in December a Dogs Act for North Rhine-Westphalia is put before the County Parliament.

Secretary of the Environment Baerbel Hoehn: at the end of last year we announced that we would have a proposal for a new Dogs Act, which is based on the previous Dogs Act but comes in line with the nation wide Act. We are trying to create a balance between the safety demands of the population, especially children and older people and the interests of responsible and knowledgeable dog owners. The proposed bill will include substantially higher penalties for offenses against it.

The bill was created by the federal state government under leadership of the Ministry for Environment and Nature Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. In order to accelerate the process and close the legislative procedure before the summer break, the federal state government and the parliamentary parties agreed to bring the proposal to parliament as group initiative.

The new Dogs Law North Rhine-Westphalia is to replace the current Act. The new regulation for the protection from danger posed by dogs is going to be a formal law. Thus public security is icreased by application of penalty clauses, higher penalties and special rights of direct access for the Authorities responsible, giving a more consistent handle on dangerous dogs and irresponsible dog owner inside.

The Act called LHV NRW worked satisfactorily to a large extent, decreasing the biting incidents in North-Rhine-Westpahlia and leading to more responsible dog ownership. The new law is going to tie in with this. The law is aiming to be a large part of the national dog laws to be worked out by the Conference of Home Secretaries.

The law has a grading of owners and their obligations depending on the possible danger a dog poses - as does the Act - with three categories:

The law contains already like the national dog regulation two rattlists, which orient themselves ago from the number of dogs at the country wide recommendations. Afterwards the races pit bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire bullterrier and bullterrier and their crossings apply due to the racial origin as dangerous dogs. For dogs of the races mentioned the Federal law already provides the banning of owning, placing and breeding. The acceptance of an abstract danger of certain dog races is admissible and by the jiurisdiction was predominantly acknowledged. A predicate about the non-standard danger of each animal of these races is not met with it.

Beyond that dogs - independent of their race - become dangerous dogs, which were obligatorily determined due to false formation or by actual, danger-causing failure their danger to have proven and their non-standard danger after a office-veterinary investigation by the responsible authority.

For handling dangerous dogs the law sets up strict request:

1. Permission obligation for the attitude:

  • New attitudes only when being present a special private or public interest,
  • Prerequisites for the distribution of permission are majority of Halterin or owner, certificate of special customer of the office veterinary surgeon, reliability proof by certificate of good conduct and proof for outbreak-safe accommodation, liability insurance with minimum covering total (personal injuries: 500,000, - EUR; Damages to property: 250,000, - EUR) and indication of the dog.
  • 2. Behavior obligations:

  • Anleinpflicht outside of the befriedeten property (with exception of dog discharge surfaces) and muzzle obligation with release possibility after official behavior check,
  • " fixed hand " of owner and surpervisor,
  • Special customer, reliability and majority also for surpervisors,
  • Prohibition to lead several dangerous dogs at the same time
  • Message obligations. Offences can as irregularities with a fine from now to 100.000, - EUR (LHV: 100,000, - EUR) to be punished.

    The law designates - the country wide recommendations following - for 10 further dog races special regulations. Dogs of these races and their crossings indicate - to be without dangerous dogs - race-specific features, which justify a special hazard potential and require under preventive criteria special request to handling. Endangerment-relevant features at the certain races are for example low biting inhibition, lowered sensitivity to attacks, combat instinct or a genetically conditioned protection impulse.

    Also avoiding irresponsible owners of dog from relevant sets is to be made more difficult by the regulations on dogs of these races. On recommendation of the conference of the Secretaries of the Interiors the races Alano and American Bulldog were again taken up.

  • To dogs intended of the 10 races and their crossings request apply as for dangerous dogs with the following modifications:

    1. No breed prohibition,
    2. No special interest necessarily for new attitude,
    3. Behavior check for the release from the Anlein and muzzle obligation not necessarily by official veterinary surgeon, but also by recognized places.

    By a transitional regulation it is guaranteed that permissions and decisions over the release from the Anlein and muzzle obligation, which were issued on the basis of the LHV NRW, away-apply.

    Under preventive criteria and for the preservation of the protection level a regulation remains like already in the national dog regulation determined, particularly for large dogs exists (20 kg weight and more than 40 cm heightheight height). The 20/40 it regulation in such a way specified worked satisfactorily. Large dogs of this category can cause objectively alone because of their size or its weight in consequence of outside elements of surprise increased dangers for humans and animals and cause substantial damage. To the category " large dogs " belong for example to dog of the races Dobermann, Bullmastiff, Mastiff and the shepherd dog, which assume front ranks in biting statistics.

    Handling large dogs requires an early Sozialisation coined/shaped by adept attitude and a consistent education.

    Request of handling large dogs are:

    1. Obligation for the display of the attitude,
    2. Special customer-oh-point, so far not three-year unopposed attitude or affiliation to adept circles of acquaintances or occupational groups,
    3. Certificate of special customer by recognized places (e.g. dog port associations) or designated veterinary surgeons,
    4. Reliability; Manner of the examination is incumbent on the responsible authority,
    5. Liability insurance,
    6. Indication of the dog,
    7. General Anleinpflicht in the public verkehrsraum.

    The execution of the LHV North-Rhine-Westphalia regulations to large dogs is brought in and to a large extent final. It is guaranteed by a transitional regulation that effected displays, submitted certificates and the like away-applied or with the execution of the law are recognized. Thus continuity is guaranteed in the execution.

    Over the regulations to dangerous and large dogs outside to the law general basic obligations for handling dogs of all races are taken up. Thereby for dog owner inside and dog owner is generally to be guaranteed reasonable and in the thing an appropriate protection by humans and animals before the incalculability of dogs. This clarifies at the same time that it concerns to the legislator the Ausgrenzung of certain dog races.

    To all dogs apply:

    1. Obligation to danger-avoiding handling,
    2. Anleinpflicht in locations and situations with typically increased public traffic,
    3. Prohibition of aggression formation, - breed and - crossing.

    These obligations generally apply to handling dogs and by responsible dog holding are already now obeyed. And the risk of an endangerment or a damage entrance is carried by it for the incalculability of the behavior of an animal and the endangerment of lives, health and property of third (reason for the civil liability of the keeper of an animal) calculation, possible thereby, is reduced clearly. In all other respects general obligations of a discrimination of holding of certain dog races work against.

    End Press Release

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