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16th August, 2000

The Hessian Ministry of the Interior promised us a press release with much more lenient rules and regulations governing dog ownership for today. Although I am on their mailing list, I have not received this, yet.

They gave out a press release yesterday - that I also did not receive but got out of the Internet today: Minister Volker Bouffier intends to present a draft for the new "Laws for the Keeping and Leading of Dangerous Dogs" sometime next week. With the presentation of this draft the State of Hessen wants to demonstrate how much importance they see in a regulation regarding "fighting dogs" and "dangerous dogs". He also stated that the State of Hessen is one of the first of the German States to make the rules and regulations firm law.

He went on to state that the people of Hessen already now have a much better protection against "fighting dogs" then they had in the past. (I would like to remind you that the draconian regulations published on 5th July, 2000 still remain in force.) He further said that a very big part of the population is f o r the existing regulations and see these regulations as a better protection for themselves.

The draft has three groups of "dangerous dogs":

1st Group - Fighting Dogs
  1. American Pitbull
  2. American Staffordshire Terrier
  3. Staffordshire Bullterrier
The reason they are in the 1st group is: "The Irrefutable Supposition" of dangerousness. For this group all rules and regulations as published on 5th July, 2000 remain in full force and are to become law.

2nd Group - Breeds with Refutable Dangerousness

  1. American Bulldog
  2. Bullmastiff
  3. Bullterrier
  4. Dogue de Bordeaux
  5. Dogo Argentiono
  6. Fila Brasileiro
  7. Kangal
  8. Kaukasian Owtscharka
  9. Mastiff
  10. Mastin Espanol
  11. Mastino Napoletano
  12. Tosa Inu
These breeds are considered to be principally dangerous and the owners have to demonstrate to the local authorities that the individual dogs are not. This they are allowed to do with the character or non aggression test as described in my last update.

Dogs who have passed this test do not have to be castrated anymore and are also allowed to take off their muzzle when leaving their absolutely secure premises.

If the dogs in question do not pass this test, they will be treated as "fighting dogs". These 12 breeds are included to prevent "a latent danger" and "to prevent that irresponsible owners and breeders chose these breeds and train them to become aggressive killing machines" as an alternative to the breeds mentioned in the 1st group.

3rd Group - All Dogs who "have bitten" or "shown Aggression"

This group includes all dogs who have already a history of biting or have shown aggression and can include any dog small or big. These dogs are classed as "dangerous dogs" and are considered to belong to the 1st group. If they pass the character or non aggression test, they are no longer to be considered dangerous by the local authorities.

Mr. Volker Bouffier stated that this draft would have a very broad discussion forum where local politicians and (it is hoped breed) experts would be heard. He further stated that "to bridge the time gap" between the still existing draconian regulations and the new law, "New and adapted Regulations" will come out soon.