Being an urban pup parent comes with its own set of challenges. Berlin’s recent canine crackdown, designed to help keep humans and dogs safe, might just be making things even tougher — not to mention unfair.
The House of Representatives drafted a law requiring a “Hundeführerschein.” This new permit literally translates to “dog driver’s license.” But that doesn’t mean these pooches actually get to drive cars! (Even though, c’mon, you know they want to.)
Turns out the licenses are actually for the dogs’ humans, and they’re designed to designate who is allowed to be off-leash.
In the past, many Berlin-dwelling dogs enjoyed a cushy life, and were allowed to go almost anywhere. Cafes, bars, subways. You name it, pups were there. Recently, however, the city has imposed bans on “beauty spots,” restricting pups from access to certain places, such as lakes, where humans swim and bathe.
The new permit adds another layer to the city’s stricter laws regarding dogs. The legislation is already proving to be quite controversial for the city’s some 100,000 dogs, particularly since the law seems to reinforce existing breed discrimination practices. Berlin has already outlawed the breeding of Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bulls, Bull Terriers, and Tosas, and these pups are additionally required to wear muzzles.
Critics of the law point furthermore to the fact that the legislation exempts dogs fewer than 12 inches, allowing Chihuahuas, Corgis, and other smaller dogs to roam free as they please — despite the fact that tiny pups are just as capable of causing harm as larger dogs!
The permit’s lofty fee is another cause for grievance. Although Berlin dog owners are already required to register their pets, they will now have to pay an additional 100 Euros ($112) to obtain the license and 40 Euros ($45) annually thereafter to maintain it.
Despite the breed discrimination and lofty costs contained within the law, the law does include a few note-worthy clauses. Dog owners who do not scoop up their pup’s poop will be fined. So, it’s pick it or ticket.
Additionally, off-leash dogs must have passed a basic training test and be deemed manageable — that is, the owner must be able to demonstrate that they can recall their dog in the event of danger.
While these additions seem reasonable, we just wish the law gave all dogs this opportunity, regardless of breed or size.
‘Cause I don’t know about you, but I’d LOVE to get in on this cuddle sesh.