Before skipping this section, because it does not happen in your backyard but in Luxembourg, please note some facts. Firstly, countries compare their legislation with that of other countries, and especially other countries of the European Union (EU). Furthermore, the EU strives to one law which will also apply on the topic of Breed Specific Legislation. Secondly, the government of Luxembourg explicitly warns tourists that they also have to obey to this law. Thirdly, time your positioning on this subject or your comment will have the strongest possible effect at this exact time. Once a law is adopted it is not easily undone or even changed. Furthermore, if they disapprove or modify their proposed legislation it may have beneficial effects on other countries. A fair legislation in all areas is highly desirable, and will enrich the lives of humans and save the lives of animals.
The Duchy of Luxembourg has announced their intention to introduce Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), which will also result in the banning of several breeds including the so-called “Staffordshire Terrier” (which presumably includes both the "Staffordshire Bull Terrier (SBT)" and the “American Staffordshire Terrier (AST)”) and the “Tosa Inu”. This law proposal has already been drafted and is expected to be implemented within the next six to nine months (if not earlier); the “implementation” phase will include "the assistance of the police and veterinary authorities (the latter for the euthanizing of the dogs on racial instead of behavioral grounds).
The government of Luxembourg is following the trail of other countries (e.g. France, see latter example, and also Germany) that already enforced BSL on dog breeds, especially those with a fighting heritage. However, all those governments have made and are making the simple error of assuming that dogs are dangerous because of what they look like and, perhaps some of the owners that they attract, rather than considering the real and scientifically proven fact that any dog can be dangerous, irrespective of its breed. Furthermore, they hereby surpass the fact that the vast majority of dogs irrespective of breed are well adjusted family pets bringing tremendous benefits of health and companionship to their owners and families and even to communities.
It is as yet to a certain degree still unclear whether the law is intended to include either the “American Staffordshire Terrier” (a breed from American origin) or the "Staffordshire Bull Terrier" (a breed from English origin) or both, since both breeds include the terms “Staffordshire” and “Terrier”. The French government initially made the same error, although they were eventually prevailed upon to clarify their position and thereby explicitly excluded the "Staffordshire Bull Terrier" (SBT; a breed from English origin) from their laws.
Unfortunately, it is also possible that they will be swayed by the German authorities with whom the government of Luxembourg has very close links and so, as has been predicted by many fanciers of working dogs including the Bull and Terrier breeds, the arrogance and ignorance of a few influential politicians in Germany may again be about to spread their nonsense to other parts of Europe. If the BSL as applied in Germany will be followed by Luxembourg, what seems to be the most likely outcome, also the SBT will be banned!
It appears that the AST, SBT and the Tosa Inu are included in the law proposal of the government of Luxembourg.
The penalties for disobeying this law (that is at this time still in its proposal phase) range from 251 to 20,000 Euros (£175 to £13,500) and can include imprisonment ranging from eight days to two years. Furthermore, the law explicitly warns tourists that the penalties apply to anyone bringing a proscribed dog across any border into their country.
So what can we do? We can write to the authorities in Luxembourg in much the same way as we successfully wrote to those of France, explaining about our breed the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (SBT; the nanny dog) and try to explain to them where they can get real facts about dogs and the threat from dogs and just why any breed specific legislation can only be counter-productive in protecting the public.
If you also want to do so (French and German are the international languages most used in Luxembourg; but letters in English could also be sent), please be very polite and sensitive to the fact that the people you write are, although very influential, normally acting through ignorance of dog matters rather than any spite against our breeds. Even one single aggressive or rude letter from outside their country is almost bound to do more damage to the cause of dog owners than hundreds of careful letters explaining the scientific evidence and/or the personal experience of life with our dogs and the benefits they offer to us as individuals and as a society.
Anyone wishing to contact the Luxembourg authorities should write to the Prime Minister and to the Ministry of Agriculture (addresses can be found below).
M. Jean-Claude Juncker
Le Premier ministre et Ministère d'Etat
4, rue de la Congrégation
M. Fernand Boden
Ministère de l'Agriculture, de la Viticulture et du Développement Rural
1, rue de la Congrégation
L - 1352 Luxembourg
“By Spartan Law Kennels” (www.bsl-sbt.com)
February 28th, 2008
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