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Protest/Demonstration in Düsseldorf/Germany July 22, 2000

The people came together at 10 a.m. at the Burgplatz (near the Rhine, in front of Police department). A lot of police were there as 10,000 and more people had been expected to join for the protest. Final estimation by Police —— 10,000 - 12,000 people.

(Click on the picture for a larger image

The demonstration went by peacefully, which was very important for our reputation. Again - like Münster July 14, and Dortmund July 15, 2000 - the crowd was very very surprised to see

  • Families with kids
  • Medium- and upper-class people
  • A lawyer/attorney
  • Members from the rescue-dog-organization
  • And few maybe more poor but any NOT AT ALL criminal people

Frankly said - people like you and me.

All ages - kids from 3 up to 14/15 - and the oldest participants might have been around 70 - 75 years. Also several NON-DOG-OWNERS who had once (in the past) a dog and think/thought of getting a new 4-legged friend again, joined us.

Police was present - but was NOT NEEDED - but also not as supportive as they had been at Münster and Dortmund; there they allowed us to use the loud-speakers of the policecar.

This demonstration was sponsored by ROYALE CANINE - and even if this is good for the company for marketing - I want to be fair and mention this; as they provided us with microphones.

(Click on the picture for a larger image


  • A Politician (who critisized the edict, released by another colleague - ministry B. Höhn, and told the crowd what in his opinion was wrong with the edict - and brought out as well the point that it would not have been necessary if the existing rules and law would have been followed properly),

  • a lady from an animal rescue organization - referring to the "abuse" of animals, mentioning that no creature is born "bad/aggressive" but each creature can be turned towards aggression (by torture/wrong training etc.)

  • the organizers and members of the Bürgerinitiative (initiative founded by the citizens, concerned by that edict = dog owners - I belong to that group too)

  • several individuals spoke (I was really lucky today as I was asked for a second speech).

At 1:30 p.m. we came to a peacefull end - with not even one bad event from our side.

Highlights - and proofs for the mass hysteria

A blind lady with a certified dog to guide her, dog with special guide-leash, lady with a white stick - for everybody easily to recognize that she is blind/disabled - who had fortunately another NOT blind lady to accompany her - WAS ATTACKED on her way from Mühlheim to Düsseldorf at Main Station Düsseldorf. Only due to the fact that some passengers showed up courage and helped - she was not hurt.

The poor dog was much confused (which one could easily see on the body language, tail carried between the rear legs, unusually shy and nervous due to that). It was a very friendly Old German Shepherd-male who could be touched be everybody. We convinced the lady that she should report this to the local police (which she agreed to do after the demonstration).

The blind lady with her seeing eye dog
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A TV-Team was asked to make pictures on that and a reporter from local press came over for an interview. Friends of mine made a photo - we have the permission of the lady to use the photo and the story TO SPREAD IT OVER THE WORLD.

Other pictures had been made - and we asked the people if it would be ok to give it to foreign press and/or use it in internet. Everbody gave the permission to do so. The pictures will be availabe at Tuesday next week (as over the weekend there is no 24-hour-service in Germany, so Monday is the first day to get the developed, Tuesday back, than scanned).

Some people told us upon request their stories (we asked of course for proof and I hope that some will send me faxes on this) - and we have

  • A lady walking 2 chihuahuas - the smallest dogs in the world - was spoken to badly (these dogs belong to NO category)

  • A lady walking a Collie-Mix is always asked for the "muzzle for this Köter" (category 3)

  • A pensionar, owning a Rottweiler - spoken to as "dirty old guy with killer-dog" & some more stories like that

  • People with Bullterrier or Staffordshire-Terrier are addressed as "souteneur or prostitute" - just because they own a dog of category 1 (and dogs out of this category are mostly abused by the criminals).

On tonight's TV-News (WDR) there was a very brief report (1.5 min.) - but neutral - neither pro- nor con, and it seems as if the "serious" press seems to be slightly changing its opinion toward "neurtral or sometimes pro-dog/pro owner", as in each demonstration it was mentioned that

  • great help and support is given from France - UK - USA - Canada (and worldwide)
  • that newspapers from foreign countries give notice to the events and that maybe TV from foreign countries is willing to report (if reliable source/proof availabe)

I am convinced that this helped to change the mind of the media.

(Click on the picture for a larger image
From Mrs. Höhn was heard that she mentioned we should "stick to the edict as she is still convinced it is correct" (but I have no proof where she made this statement).

Well, the more pressure (like boycott of German products, by letting the German industry know about the reason for boycott, letters to the embassies, emails to the politicians etc.) they will get, the more we continue, the more the likelihood that we are able to put the "edicts out of order" and have new, reasonable ones released, ones that we all can deal with in daily life.

And I was right with the opinion that "an edict is less than a law --- to change a law would be almost impossible - to change an edict ....there is a certain chance".

Next demonstration should take place July 29, 2000 (Gelsenkirchen)

Edith Steffen
July 22, 2000
11.30 p.m.

News article about demo in Duesseldorf

[ Translation: ]

10,000 dogowners demonstrate against compulsory muzzle
Protest against new regulation in Northrhine-Westphalia

Duesseldorf (AP) Approx. 10,000 dog owners demonstrated on Saturday in Duesseldorf against a general leash and muzzle obligation for certain dog breeds. The protest march from the old section of Duesseldorf to the state government building was directed especially against the new dog regulation of Northrhine-Westphalia. The demonstrators demanded that the regulation be changed again in order to enable a responsible keeping of animals. Meanwhile the Minister for the Environment Baerbel Hoehn (Green Party) called for more objectivity in the discussion about fighting dogs.

The new dog regulation for the State with the largest population amongst other provides for a compulsory leash and muzzle for 29 dog breeds, among them Dobermann, Rottweiler and Mastiff. The demonstrators are rejecting this regulation. Only dogs which have shown to be dangerous should fall under such obligations, says organizer Rainer Kratzmann of the Duesseldorf «Initiative for the Protection of the People and a fair dog keeping». The organizer was content with the response. "We have clearly reached our goal" says Kratzmann.

Minister for the Environment Hoehn, who was harshly attacked by the banners of the demonstrators, demanded a more objective discussion. A speaker of the Ministry at the same time made it clear that the existing regulation will not be changed.