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Report on the Düsseldorf Demonstration

CopyrightŠ Gabi Woiwode 2000


It is not yet too long ago when Baerbel Hoehn, Minister of the North-Rhine Westphalian environment presumed to the boldly claim in front of a certain Mr Karl-Heinz Strohmeier that "in four weeks no more soul will go out on the streets for the dog edicts."

A happy outcome is worth waiting. Karl-Heinz Strohmeier together with the Citizens' Initiative of Gelsenkirchen organized a nationwide demonstration - and so many followed his invitation. Police estimated the never ending queue with of people with a "heart for animals" that migrated through the old part of the City of Düsseldorf to be of between ten and fifteen thousand people. The media reported 3,000 later and those who attended assumed "round about 5,000" participants. How many ever there were in deed - there is no doubt that when the last tailender left the starting point Burgplatz, the top arrived at the target point, the glass building of the Landtag.

Well Mrs Hoehn - people who are sitting in a glass house shouldn't throw stones...

Two bag pipers from Lower Saxony were leading the protesting queue of 1 mile of length. Behind them followed representatives in two of the 42 dog breeds listed in the dog edict of North-Rhine Westphalia, each accompanied by their sponsors. The two Akbas dogs for example were guided by Cairn Terriers, the Fila Brasileiros by Border Terriers, two Dachshounds walked with the Hungarian Cuvaszs, the "cotton dogs" Cotton de Tulear side by side with the Briards, German Shepards were the force behind the Ovtcharkis, Boxers the one that came with the Staffordshire Bullterrier, Bassetts led the Dogo Argentinos, and Poodles demonstrated their solidarity with the American Staffordshire Terriers.

Just the legendary Goralenhound had to refrain from a canine companion - but remarkably enough he had risen again from history after roughly eight centuries of extinction to demonstrate with the still existing breeds for their right to survive.

After two hours the demonstrators reached the Landtag, the glass residence of the "Queen of Sunflowers". The queue for love for dogs and constitutional rights was even longer now then had originally started from the Burgplatz. Many Düsseldorfers spontaneously interrupted their Saturday shopping tour and joined them. On the spot.

Even the present police contingent was more a friendly companion of the peaceful dog owners; here and then one could watch officers dressed in green in a fierce cuddle fight with those said-to-be "dangerous beasts". Maybe it has already got about that Germany on only rare occasions has seen demonstrations so very peaceful as the ones of dog owners that undeterredly go out on the streets since July again and again. And also the weather god supported them by heating up his winter sun as much as he could.

Also for the Ministers of Interior of the 16 States of Germany that will meet as of November 22nd to discuss a nationwide dog edict representatives had to serve. The State of Thuringia that dog owners confirm loyalty to the constitution was symbolized by an overdimensional big red heart, while for the other 15 states scarecrows were attending the event. The only female scarecrow was given a placard saying "She ain't clever, she ain't nice, she is green, name's Baerbel Hoehn!" to exclude any misinterpretations.

For that conference of the Ministers of Interior prior to the demonstration a symposion was held in the Nikko Hotel in Düsseldorf, organized by the Comunity of Interest "Man and Dog". Numerous representatives from all German States as well as from many European countries such as Austria, England, and France followed the invitation. Professionals of all groups from lawyer and politician or journalist and veterinarian to animal protector and breed club representatives shared their mostly sad experiences with the German edicts. Their collected words will be present with the 16 Ministers of Interior until the beginning of their conference in an according festschrift. This shall be coaching their so very obvious deficiency of knowledge as well as their lack of willingness to let experts contribute to this topic that would only be too pleased to get the occasion to.

In front of a real vast mass of people the promoters opened the speech part at 3.00 p.m. to which also representatives from all German States and several European countries had shown. The according speeches were only too welcomed and dealed broadly with all the 16 States and their edicts. Voices from abroad brought up painful subjects caused by German politics by dog edicts and their consequences. Blood dropping from German legislation does not run beneath state borders for the first time..

As of dawn the place in front of the glass house was shining bright from a sea of torches, grave candles, and lanterns. Fifty to hundred hardliners stood the beginning rain and the unevitable cold of the evening until the end of the event.

The YOUNGEST canine representative:

Felix, a little sixteen weeks young American Staffordshire Terrier puppy could not do other than to follow his friend and companion "Strolchi". The latter one aka "Apollo von Camitoss" and has many successful operations and years of profession as an SAR dog on his tired back. The dog edict of his Home State Hessen threatens this proven rescuer of so many human lives with an ending up in a shelter. So very sadly little Felix toddles beside his big friend on his puppy legs, that meanwhile is so sick, that his master is bedding him on a small couch during the speech part of the demonstration.

The most FUNNY canine representative:

A representative of the breed "American Staffordshire Terrier" as well - which the brown brindle he-dog proudly stresses by his "Stars and Stripes" scarf. His sun glasses are also emphasizing that "American touch" - or did he maybe just did no longer want to see all this dog misery?

The SADEST human participant:

Peter from "Kings Avenue, the famous Königsallee, is well-known in Düsseldorf - at the latest since malignant humans poisened his "Leica". In his heart breaking speech he said "for miles around no human being is or was ready to live underneath the bridge with me - but my dog". His "Leica" is more than irreplacable for him: homeless people do have little chances to get a dog. One of the cynic side-effects of not only Mrs Hoehn's dog edict that are not even in theory adequate to ensure "more security".

The most TOUCHING moment:

The poem "To you - the Human Beings" - written during the hours of the protest picket in front of the Hamburg reception camp for listed dogs, from which there is hardly a way out again. The grave voice and the horrible sad tone of Mike gives a very realistic impression of the mood that must lay over that city prior praised for its tolerance.


Pessimistics will say there could have been more participants. Realists and optimistics, however, are both in accordance: it was a wonderful event with far more participants than one could expect at this time of the year, with so many that came from very far away. And one aspect those who attended will carry home with them: a strengthened determination, not to give up and not to rest until the last dog is off the lists.

A further outcome of the event is that "this Baerbel", as they call her here, should better leave her hands off both future prognosis and the topic of dogs - in both areas she did not really cover herself with glory.