Forced rest for the vigilantes on all fours. Of the 130 or so dogs used by German police, especially in Berlin, around 49 have been suspended from duty. Their mobilization contradicts a new law against animal abuse, in force since January 1.
These dogs intervene to locate missing persons, detect drugs or explosives, but also, sometimes, during arrests. They are then fitted with special collars, supposed to allow officers to contain the animal when an attack is deemed necessary.
Concretely, if the dog is “released” on a suspect, his master must be able to put an end to the attack at any time. The agent then pulls on this collar which restricts the respiratory tract of the animal, in order to make it regain its calm.
This technique aims to control the aggressiveness of the dog, so that it helps the police in their mission without inflicting serious injuries or even killing the person arrested. A method that is no longer authorized under this recent law, promulgated by Julia Klöckner, former Minister of Agriculture. To justify its decision, the government relied on scientific studies showing that the punitive stimuli “contradict the concept of animal welfare”, specifies the Guardian.
These new rules were mainly introduced to regulate the possession of dogs in private homes in Germany, but they apply to everyone, including guard dogs. They define new standards for the overall maintenance and care of dogs, in breeding or in German homes.
Abuse on the rise during the pandemic
In particular, the size, ventilation and temperature of their kennels must be adequate, the owner must give their animal sufficient time and the latter must be able to socialize with other dogs. It is forbidden to keep it chained, except in special circumstances, and all equipment or practices inducing pain, pinch collars for example, are prohibited.
For Julia Klöckner, this update of practices was necessary for a long time but has become even more essential with the pandemic. According to her, many Germans without experience with animals adopted them during the crisis and cases of abuse have increased. This law also aims to make pet shop owners and breeders more accountable on the issue of animal welfare.
Within the police, it seems that the consequences of this new legislation were not anticipated. The GdP, a trade union for the profession, called for the intervention of the Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Fraeser, on this subject. “We are totally open to innovative training methods, in which there is no need to inflict pain. But for the moment, we do not know any ”, deplores the instance.
Fearing that the suspension of police dogs would have “serious consequences for internal security”, Stephan Kelm, vice-president of the Berlin section of the GdP, called for a quick solution. According to Thilo Cablitz, a spokesman for the police, discussions have been initiated in this direction with the Ministry of the Interior in Berlin.