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Old 21.12.2011, 14:12
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Re: Muzzle for Rottweiller

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I've seen enough people in Switzerland overreact to dogs so I can well imagine what really went down that morning. I'm on the dog's side.
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Please tell me this is just a poor attempt at British humour.
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  #42  
Old 21.12.2011, 14:14
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Re: Muzzle for Rottweiller

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All of this still begs the question for me, why we(a)ren't kennel clubs, national, breed and others, more actively enganged to lobby in the cantons and municipalities to fight against breed bans and un-predicated dog-bullying legislation?
Some random thoughts, based on my experience as an outsider looking in. So grain of salt, and all that.

There was indeed a concerted effort made in 2006-7 against the various proposals at the federal level, largely publicized by Hunde Online. Unfortunately, that site is now subscription only, so the best resource for understanding what is going on where now no longer reaches the audience who need to see it.

The breed clubs (the bull breeds and molossers) most affected have indeed been active; it's just a shame (read: a disgrace) that the SKG has not give the support it should have.

So why isn't there a strong movement here in Switzerland, such as Deed Not Breed in the UK?

In the months after the Oberglatt tragedy I think many dog owners were afraid to speak out against the various knee-jerk proposals for two reasons. First, dog owners were as horrified by the tragedy as non-dog owners, and joined in sincere sympathy for the family of the child. No one wanted to be seen as condoning what had happened.

Secondly, as the anti-dog hysteria grew, many dog owners grew rather afraid of the vehemence of public reaction. I know I was worried about local dog haters hurting my dogs, and was very cautious in what I said and did throughout 2006. (Still am.)

From 2006-2008 the dog control measures under discussion changed frequently - it was difficult to keep up with what was rumor, what was in fact, what was political grandstanding and what was actually in the pipeline. There wasn't a specific, concrete proposal against which to rally the troops.

As a foreigner, I have no political voice - which can get disheartening when one feels passionately about an issue. I wasn't sure where to take my concerns, still don't really understand how thing work here. I know how to organize a grass roots movement in the US, but Swiss politics remains a something of a mystery to me.

Speaking of which, I was cautioned that a foreigner's (visible) involvement might be interpreted negatively, could actually work against an anti-BSL campaign. Fair point, considering that the owner of the dogs involved in the Oberglatt tragedy was a foreigner. This was also the time of the 'Black Sheep' posters, after all.

BSL falls under dog control, which is the competency of the individual cantons. Working at the cantonal level meant fractured efforts, little cohesion, the voice of Anti-BSL campaigners spilt into 26 parts.

Many dog owners did not know that BSL was being proposed; even today many people don't know the laws of their cantons, have never heard of the federal law. Heck, it took the fallout from Oberglatt and fear for my own dogs to open my eyes. The information is there if one looks for it - but it simply doesn't occur to many people that such laws are possible. Look what goes on here on EF as an example; despite years of posts discussing the SKN, there are plenty of EF dog owners who don't know that they are required to take these classes.

Ironically in the Land Of Rule Followers, there seems to be a strong individualistic anarchistic streak. Rather than protest against a law one sees as unfair, rather than try to change an unjust law, there seems to be a tendency to simply ignore a law one does not personally agree with. I've struggled to understand this phenomenon, as I see it in many aspects of life here.

As a corollary on that, in discussing BSL many (again, Swiss) dog owners told me "don't worry, these measures are only symbolic. When people are upset politicians need to be seen to do something - but 'everyone knows' that after a few prominent cases people will forget." That 'symbolic' laws have killed harmless dogs doesn't seem to register.

But IMO the most significant reason that BSL was enacted in about half the cantons was that there was (is?) little solidarity among dog owners. Dog owners in Uri (for instance) were not affected, and therefore not much bothered, by the decree that puppies be euthanized at birth in VS. Among fellow owners in my Hundeverein, owners of small and medium sized fluffies, I could not drum up much interested in discussing BSL proposals because 'our dogs aren't affected'. Nattering on about slippery slopes and all that was met with blank stares. Shockingly, some members of the breed club even supported BSL. When asked how they would feel if their dog was threatened, the reply was usually along the lines of 'Oh, that would never happen.'

Lots of heads were being stuck in the sand - and still are.


But I'm as guilty as the rest - as I just don't know what to do. Other than trot out my EF soapbox now and again.
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  #43  
Old 21.12.2011, 14:23
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Re: Muzzle for Rottweiller

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Please tell me this is just a poor attempt at British dark humour.
Not humor at all. I see it every day.

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In the months after the Oberglatt tragedy...
Secondly, as the anti-dog hysteria grew...
MC thanks for that history it answered a lot of questions.
Now I'm wondering if what I am observing as overreactions and fear/paranoia towards dogs could be a reflection of this recent BSL hysteria.
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