Due to a particularly brutal attack on a two-year-old girl by a Labrador recently, the government is now considering a new law for dogs. According to the proposed law, all large dogs, defined as being more than 50 cm tall, would be required to be on a lead at all times. This would ensure that each dog's owner is in control in every situation. Although nothing has yet been decided, the mere discussion of such a law has created quite a stir among the dog owners here in Munich.
With over 31,000 dogs registered in Munich, it is clear that not every single owner will be able to guarantee complete control over his or her dog. Since 2011, there have been 330 instances reported to the police, in which a dog has frightened or hurt either a human being or another dog.
Formerly, only unruly dogs were to be kept on a lead, and only when they were deemed dangerous by the authorities. Of those 330 incidents, only 80 of the dogs were deemed dangerous enough for such a requirement, while the remainder were let off with only a warning. After looking at such statistics, some residents are wondering whether it is an overreaction to force all of Munich's canine population to a harnessed lifestyle because of the actions of such a small minority of dogs.
Because a very vocal contingent of local citizens are uncomfortable with dogs running freely through the parks and streets of Munich, the authorities are in the unfortunate position of not being able to please everyone. This most recent attempt to make the city a safer place for all its inhabitants is causing controversy that will not die down easily.
It does not seems fair to paint all of our canine companions the same colour, however the sad fact is that a dog is of course an animal, and we as human beings cannot always complete command over our animals, no matter how well we think we know them. If the law against free-running dogs in Munich is passed, then who is to say that a dog on a leash won't attack a passer-by, despite the best efforts of it's owner? The issue will be hotly disputed over the next coming months.