dangerous dogs of targeted and effective measuresA position paper with proposals
of the dangerous dog Working Group
1.1. dog bite Accidents: The Risk to Public Health a study published in 1998 by Matter . of the Federal Office of Public Health (data collected in 1995) estimates the frequency of dog bite injuries treated by family physicians at 192 for
100,000 inhabitants per year. A study conducted in 1984 (Matter HC, University of Bern, unpublished), at in which 851 households in the canton of Berne with dogs were interviewed by telephone, revealed 1,098 dog bites per 100,000 inhabitants per year, ranging from simple pinch to injury serious. it is estimated that 80% of dog bite injuries are caused by a dog known to the victim and that 60% of the victims are children.
This is above all a private sector issue whose development cannot be assessed, because the
figures are incomplete. accidents are most often caused by a lack of knowledge of the behaviour of the dog both on the part of the animal owner and the potential victim. They can also be caused by dogs that, regardless of their breed, have an attitude that does not correspond not to the requirements and expectations of our society, or for reasons related to a genetic predisposition
(lineage), insufficient breeding and socialization, or inadequate education and care, or even
sometimes irresponsible, or for reasons related to a disease (of behaviour).
1.2. Fears and insecurity of the population
Some circles of people have raised and trained dogs as fighting dogs. The fights of dogs, as well as dog training for this purpose, are prohibited in Switzerland. In specific environments,
the dog is used as a weapon, to attack people or to intimidate them. These groups of dogs and
holders are a priority crime problem.
The media provided an "advertising platform" for dogs and dog owners in these environments;
some dog breeds have thus acquired an image of dangerousness and invincibility. Just as there are some years Lassie's films conveyed a false anthropomorphic image of the Collie, the reports
media, which invariably give the Pittbull and other related breeds an image of a dog of combat, have rooted in the minds that these animals belong to dangerous dog breeds. For many people
of individuals, they are a source of great fears and insecurity, for others, they become welcome support from their intentions.
A trend has developed on the image of power and invincibility linked to certain types of dogs, which has led to an increase in the number of breeds incriminated, particularly in some urban areas.
1.3. Sense of responsibility and respect for others on a daily basis More and more people are living in increasingly cramped environments. In addition, there is an increasingly individualized: everyone would like to be able to meet their needs freely and without being disturbed. The few green spaces and easily accessible relaxation areas are shared by walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, scooter users, riders, riders, holders of dogs with their companion(s) and many others. It is only through mutual respect, tolerance and a developed sense of responsibility that social cohabitation is possible in such a context.
Everyone must be able to comply with certain Community rules: if a dog keeper leaves the droppings of his dog lying around without regard to his dog's droppings animal, if he does not keep his dog under control or does not keep him on a leash where propriety, respect for others and the established rules require it, then a parameter is added to all the problems of life in society.
Final considerations: the vast majority of dog bite accidents occur in the private sector. On the other hand, the media consuming population considers this issue as a security issue public. both aspects reflect the development of our society: the dog as a social partner of the human being has gained in importance; a dog's behaviour adapted to all situations imposes strong constraints on both the dog and its owner. Life in our society is also characterized by a increase in violence and by the development of a sense of insecurity and fear. In addition, population growth is accompanied by increasing individualization and decreasing social responsibility.
2. Situation to date: legal provisions at federal and cantonal level
2.1. At the federal level
The legal bases available are as follows
2.1.1. Article 118 of the Constitution: Protection of health:
Article 118 of the new Constitution describes the Confederation's tasks in terms of protecting the
health as follows:
Within the limits of its powers, the Confederation takes measures to protect health.
It legislates on:
a. the use of foodstuffs as well as therapeutic agents, narcotic drugs, organisms, substances and substances
chemicals and objects that may pose a health hazard.
All living beings (plants, animals, humans, microorganisms; see different dictionaries)
are considered to be organizations. The article of the Constitution is generic and universal. A report of the Federal Office of Justice and Police of 5 September 2000 concludes that dogs can be considered as bodies that may endanger health; this article could, therefore, enable the Confederation to legislate.
2.1.2. Civil and criminal law
In the event of damage caused by an animal, the person who holds it is liable, unless he proves that he has it kept and supervised with all the attention required by the circumstances or that his diligence would not have prevented the damage to occur (Damage to persons and property, Art. 56 of the Code of Obligations). The animal as an instrument of its holder is subject to criminal law, which means that bodily injury and threats caused by an animal are considered an offense by the keeper, who is already in possession of it.
2.1.3. Law on epizootic diseases
At the end of November, the Federal Veterinary Office received the mandate from the Federal Council to develop, through an amendment of the Law on epizootic diseases, the basis for the obligation to identify by means of microchips. An obligation identification of all dogs and the centralized registration of dogs and their owners could provide the opportunity to record reported cases, observations and actions taken. In this way, it would be possible to track the dogs concerned and their owners. The dog's responsibility lies with the registered holder. These measures could also be used to trace back to farmers and traders of the dogs concerned and to control imports. in addition, such a record would provide the data missing to date concerning the canine population and would allow monitoring of their development.
2.1.4. Animal Protection act
The Animal Protection act protects animals against human-induced damage in
the framework of the relationship, keeping and use of the animal (but not inbreeding). The modification of the Animal Protection Act (article on animal husbandry) as part of the Gen-Lex package must make possible prohibition of breeding methods related to pain, suffering, damage or injury behavioral problems and must make it possible to control the importation of animals reared under these conditions.
Final considerations: the Confederation's legislative possibilities have not been exhausted. An article on livestock farming in the new version of the Animal Protection Act offers opportunities to meet the lack of legislation on animal husbandry, education, and detention.
The obligation to identify by means of microchips can be used to set up and record incidents reported in a database of central data. The latter would make it possible to identify problem dogs and follow their tracks.