This is a translation of the German original post.
Now, how do we best begin here, when we are dealing with terms that make us listen, that make us cautious, that have remained in our minds from history lessons. The concept of “race
It was on a long car trip from Berlin to Vienna at the end of 2019, there was an interesting radio show about the concept of race. Related to human races. The term should be abolished, it has no validity. The University of Jena, and I think I can remember that a Viennese institute was also involved here, was probably in charge.
On Wikipedia one reads today:
In 2019 the German Zoological Society under Martin S. Fischer, Uwe Hoßfeld, Johannes Krause and Stefan Richter adopted the Jena Declaration, according to which the racial concept is “the result of racism and not its precondition”.
Well well, we are here thematically naturally with humans, let’s see whether the “German Zoological Society”, here still with the dog/animal also changes something.
From mid-2019, for example, there is a literature study of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna which says that the breed-specific danger of dogs can currently neither be scientifically proven nor proven by reliable bite statistics.
Unfortunately, I have not yet found this study anywhere as a download, it would have been interesting. At least now I have the information that it is a “literature study”. I have always wondered how exactly such a study has been carried out without being problematic in terms of animal protection law (the human component is completely ignored here), although the German Animal Experiments Act is probably applicable for research.
Anyway, let’s leave out the negative, maybe a study comes to the conclusion that the Malinois for example (in the context of the breed, not in relation to the individual) is not better suited for the protection service than the poodle… Well, I hope you understand what I am getting at, maybe we will abolish the concept of breed in dogs as well.
We are still using this term to distinguish dog breeds. There are whole books and articles about it. So I don’t want to see anything negative (especially not as racist terminology) in talking about dog breeds, although I am generally cautious, because already 10 years after my childhood, some terms I had used as a child were suddenly taboo.
So, back to the actual topic: Special regulations for list dogs or their owners
So we have dog breeds, which differ in their character, physical, physiological abilities/principalities as well as in their appearance/appearance. In the case of working dogs, we select certain turf according to the use to which they are put, whereby the individual suitability will of course be the deciding factor in the end.
Let us uncomplicate the whole thing:
We have small dogs and large dogs, strong, beefy dogs, less strong dogs and combinations.
The small fox terrier, Jack Russel, etc. is a potentially perfect rat hunter (and killer) by breed, a thoroughly demanding and not without danger.
But as an adult, would I now assume a potential (and possibly fatal) danger for me in such a dog breed? To be honest, probably not.
And here again, yes, even a small baby cat can probably rip open my carotid artery with its sharp claws and thus injure me fatally. I want to stay with “common sense” here, so “whom can I resist”, I think that brings it most to the point.
I was allowed to get to know great dogs who were on a list because of their breed, great people with list dogs who knew exactly which situations they were better off avoiding with their dogs, responsible people with knowledge about their dog.
I also got into situations where I was glad to be out again, situations that could have ended catastrophically. Yes, also because of breed specific “peculiarities” maybe, but more because of negligent behaviour of the owners.
I should already know my dog, no matter what breed, but above all I should know what he is able to “do”.
When we talk about people without a sense of responsibility or even criminal, I admit that I prefer such a person with a Chihuahua rather than with a big breed, that’s clear.
Therefore I see the study of VetMed Vienna as positive, but there may be too little mention of a “risk potential”. Because after the lecture of the “Unikat” Dr. Udo Gansloßer about puppy development, it is already clear when (development phase) and how I can probably raise each breed abusively.
Is a fundamental distinction justified? Maybe, but wouldn’t we then have to put a Malinois or a shepherd on such a list?
Can we learn something from other areas of life? Different driving licenses for different car types and sizes. Pilot licenses etc. Does this help us? After all, terrorists probably drive trucks or planes in crowds or high-rise buildings with a driver’s license or pilot’s license…. I know, I’m already going very far….
No law will protect us from harm caused by criminals, but it can possibly protect us from people with too little knowledge about a dog breed or thoughtlessness.
Education and training are essential, first steps have been taken. One must not defame dogs and dog owners and unnecessarily overwhelm them with legal requirements because something might happen. Because in individual cases something has happened. We have the topic in road traffic, whether aggressive driving or turning trucks and both sides we train. It is also about duties of supervision and the question to what extent I can still fulfil my duty of supervision, no matter if it is towards a child or a (list) dog, if I have a lively conversation at a Heurigen. There are accidents, there are negligent accidents, there are tragic accidents. Unfortunately accidents are part of life, not always there will be a guilty party, even if it is so much desired in a tragic case.
I don’t have to be a dog lover to accept that dogs are an important economic factor in the zoological trade which generates considerable sums of money and gives people work. Togetherness is important, it belongs to each other.
But as a politician who has to make decisions, quite honestly, if I look at the dog industry in this way, I would probably not decide otherwise. Too many people have different opinions, which would not be tragic per se, but when it comes to implementing structured rules, they often overshoot the mark. No middle way wants to be found anymore, because too many want to distinguish themselves in an almost unpleasant way and are actually bad teachers, because they do not teach, but only pass on a deadlocked opinion. I am a good teacher when I give my students all the possibilities and experiences they need to find their way in the individual situation.
In a big city like Vienna, I was able to observe some great dog encounters, which would have been a total no-go for some “experts”. Unagitated, great human-dog teams with a common sense and sensitivity for situations with fellow men and dogs. And if things got wilder, just get out of the situation and don’t make a drama out of it. But for that I have to know my dog, whether list dog or not, that would be the decisive factor. And fear and insecurity are certainly the worst companions, they are only too gladly stirred up.