By Guest Blogger Leo Scheltinga
Another tragic story of failing Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is unfolding. Just recently the Danish media picked up on the story of a vet, who collapsed in tears after euthanizing 19 puppies. The puppies belonged to one of the 13 banned breeds in Denmark. It was the first video documentation of the suffering which BSL is causing in Denmark.
BSL was implemented in Denmark almost one year ago as a response to a number of dog bite incidents that made the news. Dog owners must have their dog muzzled at all times when outdoors. Re-homing or adopting is not allowed and calls for the dog to be euthanized. Puppies born after the BSL was put in place must be euthanized as well. Breeders are still allowed to breed though, as business interests always seem to prevail. For dogs of mixed-breed origin the same rules apply, should one of the banned breeds be in that mix. And it is for the owner to prove, without a doubt, the dog has none of the banned breeds in his ancestry.
If you think the story with the vet and the new information on the increase in the number of dog bites triggered a healthy response and BSL would be questioned publically, think again. Media hysteria surrounding the video with the vet prompted politicians to act, not think, once more. Instead of re-evaluating, they are planning to sharpen the BSL laws even further.
Another 12 breeds are now lined up to be included in the ban. This will bring the total up to 25 breeds, and Denmark will have the dubious honor to become the country in the world with the strictest BSL. One might wonder where this will end. How many more breeds need to be banned before Danish politicians understand banning breeds doesn’t solve the problem of dog bites. In 1600 AD, William Shakespeare wrote in his play Hamlet: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark". With what we know today, this even seems an understatement.
There is an ongoing protest in Denmark against BSL, lead by the Danish association “Fair Dog” – their website will soon be available in English - and we can help them by raising an international voice. By voting, sharing and blogging for the petition Tell Denmark to stop banning breeds on change.org. For every vote, an e-mail is send to the two politicians responsible for keeping BSL alive, demanding re-evaluation of BSL in Denmark.
Leo Scheltinga, Dog blogger from Denmark. Living in Copenhagen with his family and two Hovawarts. Blogs about daily life with his dogs, the Hovawart breed, tracking and K9 nosework, and anything else about dogs.