A bite attack in Oldenburg made headlines on Wednesday evening: A pit bull that escaped from an apartment attacked a total of six people in a parking lot, including a two-year-old child. The 63-year-old dog owner was also bitten. The police shot the animal, and an investigation was initiated against the drunk woman.
Can there be a similar incident with a pit bull in Bremen?
Rather unlikely. In Bremen, keeping Pitbull Terrier, Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier dogs is prohibited by law. These four dog breedn have been on a breed list since 2001, so one also speaks of list dogs. This also applies to their crossings with each other or with other dogs. Exceptions are only permitted under strict conditions, for example in the case of found animals. Prerequisite is the permission of the regulatory office. If listed dogs are visiting Bremen, they may stay for a maximum of 24 hours. Dogs on the list must be on a leash and muzzled.
Are there any pit bulls in Bremen at all?
That is to be expected, but it shouldn’t be many. The interior department is aware of “only a very low single-digit number” of so-called attack dogs. “Phenotypically, there are some dogs in Bremen that fit into this category,” says Sina Fehr, head of the Bremen animal shelter. Phenotypically, the animals look like pit bulls, but you can’t be sure. The shelter currently has three pit bulls in its care. According to Fehr, two of them “have never become conspicuous”. It cannot be ruled out that pit bulls are kept in secret. “We know of dog owners who register their animals in the Lower Saxony area, also through third parties, in order to circumvent the ban on keeping them in Bremen,” says department spokeswoman Karen Stroink. If such a case can be proven, the regulatory office intervenes.
How do dog experts assess the incident in Oldenburg?
In the Oldenburg pit bull attack, animal shelter manager Sina Fehr sees an isolated case. She thinks that the dog owner was drunk. “This woman has apparently given up responsibility for herself. How can she then take responsibility for other living beings?” From their point of view, the incident confirms that the problem is not the dogs, but the owners. That’s what Susanne Böttcher, operator of the Lucky Dog Hostel in Hoope, thinks too. “The problem is at the other end of the line.”
What is the legal situation in Lower Saxony?
The neighboring federal state does not have a breed list. Instead, there is a mandatory proof of competence for all dog owners, the so-called dog driver’s license. A theoretical test must be completed before acquiring a dog, and a practical test within a year of acquiring the animal. The handler must be at least 16 years old and the dog must be 12 months old.
Is a breed list useful or not?
The experts argue about that. Proponents of rat lists point to sometimes even deadly biting attacks by dangerous dogs. Animal shelter manager Sina Fehr is clearly against a breed list, she advocates a dog license. “We finally have to do some expertise,” she says. In other words, dog owners should be encouraged to read their animals better. In Bremen, the regulations for dogs defined as dangerous have only been tightened further and further. According to Fehr, however, conspicuous behavior has nothing to do with the dog breed.