| || |
| || || |
| || |
If the measure is to protect the young creatures, does this mean that these restrictions are only in place for a period of the year? or are they all year round?
| || || |
Upacs, you will need to learn the restrictions for the places you walk - these will vary. (As with everything in Switzerland - check local rules rather than rely on generalizations.)
So generally: (
Look at the cantonal laws, summarized here: http://www.tierimrecht.org/de/tiersc...echt/index.php
If an area is signed as nature conservation, your dog MUST be on lead, and may not leave the designated path. These will often be by wetlands, but can be just about anywhere. This applies all year round. Fines can be issued in many places, and repeat scofflaws might find themselves in court. Some areas have random patrols (my corner of SZ does, CHF 100 on the spot fine), but everywhere the trails are under the watchful eye of fellow hikers - and there is always one who keeps a finger poised on the speed dial button of his phone, ready to do his civic duty and call the police. (Perhaps an exaggeration, but it calling the police to report infractions is part of the local culture.
Dogs are forbidden in the Swiss National Park (Category 1 Wildnisgebiet). If an area is designated a 'Wildnisgebiet' of any category, you need to check regulations. Most likely not allowed, or severely restricted.
Forest areas generally require dogs on lead during the spring to protect the young. If your dog is off lead, the forester has the right to shoot him. Most foresters are indeed a good lot and would prefer not to kill a critter - heck, love of animals is why many chose the job. Instead you would likely be warned, possibly fined, etc. But don't count on it, for your dog's sake - they have the right to shoot a dog who presents a danger to wildlife. (And yes, the act of running off lead is considered a danger.)
Dogs also should be on lead during hunting season, to protect your dog. Every year owners disregard this warning, and every year a few poor dogs get mistaken for a deer and shot. You have no come-back from the hunters if they shoot your dog; you were at fault for letting the dog run off lead at that time. You need to consult your Gemeinde to find out when hunting is allowed, and where.
Dogs are generally forbidden from cemeteries, swimming beaches, post offices, grocery stores (or any shop selling food, but not restaurants), children's playgrounds.
Many public buildings do not allow dogs.
Dog are allowed at a private establishment (restaurant, office, etc. ) at the discretion of the owner.
Dogs are generally required to be on lead along heavily trafficked roads.
Some cantons/Gemeinden require dogs to be on lead at night.
Noise laws apply everywhere - and barking is considered the worst of all sins. Don't let your dog make noise before 7am, between 12-14:00, and after 10 PM. (Local variances may exist.) A woof or two at other times will be tolerated, but extended barking is not. Folks have been kicked out of their housing, or forced to rehome their dogs because of this.
You must pick up after your dog; there are Robidogs everywhere - these are bag dispensers/ dog waste cans. Neglecting to clean up after your dog can result in a fine in many areas. (See the above for civic-minded curtain twitchers.) Please take special care in a farm field, as dog excrement can be dangerous to livestock.
And finally, ask at your Gemeinde for local laws.
Are these laws enforced?
Again, it depends. Some area are very strict. Some very lax. Some go through periods of enforcement to send a message, and then turn a blind eye later. Sometimes the laws are not applied equally: Owner A may get the book thrown at him, Owner B just a nod and a wink. Sometimes the law is only applied after a neighbor/bystander, etc. complains. Sometimes dog-related complaints are used as a weapon in a grudge that is really about something else entirely.
You need to be aware of what the law is - and make your own decisions.
It's not all doom and gloom though. Under the federal Animal Protection Law (TSchV), dog owners are specifically encouraged to give their dogs off lead exercise daily - it is recognized that this is necessary for their well-being. You will find a dog-friendly area - just ask fellow dog owners where the good places are locally. Switzerland is no longer as dog-friendly as it was 14 years ago when I first moved here, but it still is largely dog-tolerant. My well-behaved mutts are still welcome at the local pizzeria (although I'd never be foolish enough to push my luck with the Belltie
), the dogs can still have fun climbing mountain trails, etc.
All in all, Switzerland is still a pretty good place to be a dog.
But one must understand that having a dog is viewed as a privilege, not a right - and sometimes the 'need to run free under the TschV' is used against a dog owner. For instance, SZ has a general leash law, the only canton which does. Several dog owners tried to challenge this, as it seems to contradict the federal law. But so far (no case has gone very far, to my knowledge), the interpretation is that these laws do not conflict, as a dog owner could provide private space in which to exercise a dog. And if an owner can't do that, the question arises: should that owner even have a dog?
Many of us here offering advice are canine-crazy ourselves; because we love dogs we are trying to put you in the picture as to the Zeitgeist in Switzerland. We may be dismayed by the increasing restrictions, but realistically we have to live in the here and now, and we have to find a way to give our dogs an 'artgerecht' life despite the hurdles.
In the last 5 years there has been a change in attitudes; much of the anti-dog hysteria has now calmed down, but it has left a lasting mark. Unlike many other countries, anything can be brought to a people's referendum; the strictest dog control law (ZH) came into being following a public vote. Yep, the majority of our good citizens voted for increased dog control. The Geneva laws were also a result of a public vote. So you see what we are up against - and you can see why we are urging good canine citizenship at all times. We are all walking a thin line - if the tide of public opinion swings farther... well, let's hope it doesn't. Towards that end, we need to practice responsible ownership at all times.
For our dogs' sake.