BE AWARE: Travel, Residence, and Missions to Geneva with Dogs can be Complicated by Dangerous Breed Bans
As of September 15, 2008, Geneva’s list of dogs declared as dangerous or vicious has grown to 15. The latest additions are the Bullmastiff, Thai Ridgeback, and French Mastiff (a.k.a. Bordeaux Bulldog).
These additions are only the latest in Geneva’s history of dog-banning. The latest wave began in June of 2005, when a child was killed by a Pitbull Terrier, followed soon after by the mauling of another child by the same breed. The population’s outrage was felt in the first-ever Geneva citizen vote, which resulted in a landslide 80% in favor of stricter laws regarding breed control and owner education and regulation.
Dangerous Breeds Targeted
Per Geneva’s new dog ownership regulations, any of the 15 breeds considered to be dangerous must be muzzled and leashed when outside of their own homes. They must be spayed or neutered. Additionally, dogs that are mixed breeds, containing blood of any of the potentially vicious breeds, are subject to the same bans as purebreds.
Owners who owned one of the flagged breeds before legislation was passed may maintain the dog, but only after reporting ownership to the cantonal veterinary office, proving that the dog originated from an approved breeder, completing a dog training course, and licensing the dog. Only one dangerous breed is permitted per household.
Geneva divides the 15 breeds into different categories, with each category holding specific requirements. A complete list of dangerous breeds and regulations can be obtained through Geneva’s cantonal veterinary office.
Lap Dogs aren’t Off the Hook, Either
In addition to provisions that must be made for dangerous breeds, Geneva’s general dog owner population (caretakers of the canton’s 30,000 dogs) is subject to new rules, also. As previously declared, specific guidelines for the proper keeping of dogs must be followed. But more recently, every dog owner is now required to attend a dog ownership course, regardless of their dog’s breed.
Furthermore, dog walkers must now be licensed.
Questions about Geneva’s Dog Regulations?
Geneva isn’t the only Swiss canton that’s tightening the leash when it comes to dog control. Valais, Fribourg, Bern, and Zurich have their own legislation. And, prospects point toward future rulings regarding care and control of dogs in all of Switzerland, including tougher liability for owners and nationwide breed bans.
If you’re confused about where you and your dog fall within these regulations, contact Geneva’s cantonal veterinary office or you can Contact Us.
p.s. Don’t fail to comply with Geneva’s newest, and oldest, dog ownership regulations due to misinformation or no information. These laws are in place to protect both you and your animal. Dr. Omaboe’s veterinary staff at Cabinet Vétérinaire International can answer your questions regarding general dog ownership or the handling of a dangerous breed situation.
p.p.s. Whether you’re a lifelong Geneva native, visitor, or expatriate, familiarizing yourself with the rules governing dog ownership within the canton will prevent complications. And following those rules will protect you, your dog, and your record with the law.
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