Switzerland Newcomers’ Introduction to Dog Ownership Regulations Looking into Bringing Dog Breeds to Geneva

ALERT: Civil Servants and Those Participating in International Missions to Swiss Cantons Subject to ANIS Legislation

 

According to Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, dogs entering Swiss borders after January 1, 2007 are subject to particular regulations, including registration with ANIS (Animal Identity Service). This registration adds dogs to a database in which all pets in Switzerland are contained. The ANIS database requires that all dogs be implanted with an identifying microchip or bear a legible tattoo.

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Prior Foreign Registration Non-Transferable

Upon entering Switzerland’s borders with your dog, you are required to seek out the services of a veterinarian within 10 days of your arrival. And…within 10 days after veterinary assessment of the dog, that same animal medical clinic is required to submit the dog’s microchip or tattoo information to the ANIS database. If the dog already bears a foreign registration tattoo that is clear, that information can be used for registration. If no microchip or tattoo is carried by the dog, a microchip will be implanted and registration will be carried out by the dog’s veterinarian.

ADDITIONAL ALERT: Swiss Ordinance Handed Down, Regarding Lawful Treatment of Pet Dogs

A Swiss Federal Ordinance passed on April 23, 2008 advises of regulations for the humane treatment and care required for all dogs contained within Swiss borders in order to lessen incidences of animal neglect. Articles 22 and 68 of the Ordinance state that:

  • Dogs must have access to human interaction (and interaction with other dogs, if possible) daily.
  • Dogs kept in an enclosed space with limited play area must be released and permitted to expel energy daily, in accordance with their unique activity requirements.
  • Choker chains are prohibited when tying dogs.
  • When tying dogs, enough lead and accessible area must be supplied so that the dog can access a minimum of 20 square meters (24 square yards).
  • Outdoor dogs must have access to adequate shelter and a constant water supply.
  • The dog must be contained in a way that prevents injury to, or endangerment of, humans and other animals.
  • The use of spike collars is forbidden.
  • Harsh physical punishment and warning gunshots for the purpose of disciplining dogs are prohibited.

BE AWARE: Each Swiss Canton Subjects Dog Owners to Specific Regulations

Each Swiss canton (region) has its own specific dog ownership requirements. Some regional regulations are outlined here, but it is strongly recommended that each dog owner seek the specific advice of the cantonal veterinary office in the region where the dog will be contained. (Each canton has its own specific cantonal veterinary office, which deals with regulatory matters – not to be confused with veterinary clinics, which offer animal care).

Bern

  • Bern’s veterinary office considers numerous dog breeds to have dangerous potential. The veterinary office can list these breeds for you and supply you with information needed to request official permission to own one of these marked breeds, along with special training obligations.
  • Any of these potentially dangerous dog breeds may need to be muzzled and/or leashed when in the public’s access. Contact Bern’s cantonal veterinary office for specific instructions.

Fribourg

  • Each municipality within Fribourg reserves the right to enforce rules such as leashing and barring of dogs from certain areas.
  • Fribourg’s veterinary office considers numerous dog breeds to have dangerous potential. The veterinary office can list these breeds for you and supply you with information needed to request official permission to own one of these marked breeds, along with special training obligations.
  • Any of these potentially dangerous dog breeds need to be leashed when in the public’s access.

Vaud

  • All dogs within Vaud must be under their owner’s full control, with voice or other commands, or be leashed.
  • Pit Bulls, American Staffordshires, and Rottweilers are considered by Vaud to have the potential to pose threats to humans and other animals. The veterinary office can supply you with information needed to request official permission to own any of these dogs, along with special training obligations.
  • Some dogs are required to be muzzled when in the public’s access in Vaud.

Basel-Land

  • Dogs must be fully controlled, through voice or other commands, by their owners, or must be leashed.
  • A policy must be purchased from a private insurance provider to cover the dog under civil-liability insurance.
  • Basel-Land’s veterinary office considers numerous dog breeds to have dangerous potential. The veterinary office can list these breeds for you and supply you with information needed to request official permission to own one of these marked breeds, along with special training obligations.

Basel-Stadt

  • A policy must be purchased from a private insurance provider to cover the dog under civil-liability insurance.
  • Basel-Stadt’s veterinary office considers numerous dog breeds to have dangerous potential. The veterinary office can list these breeds for you and supply you with information needed to request official permission to own one of these marked breeds, along with special training obligations.
  • Basel-Stadt enforces a leash law for all dogs in public places where sizeable numbers of people are present, including streets and restaurants, no matter the time of day.
  • Dogs must be controlled, on-leash, in all areas of Basel-Stadt, during the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Geneva

  • All dog owners in Geneva must complete a dog instructional program, designed to ensure that dog owners are aware of the unique needs and behavior of dogs, along with the legislation that they are subjected to. This training is made available by a certified instructor or Geneva veterinarian.
  • A policy must be purchased from a private insurance provider to cover the dog under civil-liability insurance.
  • Pets’ rabies vaccinations must be updated every 3 years.
  • Attention should be paid to signs at park entrances. Some public Geneva parks require that dogs be leashed, and others disallow all dogs.
  • Geneva’s veterinary office considers 15 different dog breeds to have the potential to pose threats to humans or other animals. The veterinary office can list these breeds for you and supply you with information needed to request official permission to own one of these marked breeds, along with special training obligations.
  • Any of the 15 potentially dangerous dog breeds need to be muzzled when in the public’s access.

What to Do First?

Find a Veterinarian for Dog Registration

Whether you’re new to Switzerland, or new to the aforementioned legislation, planning is integral to your compliance with responsible, and lawful, Swiss dog ownership. Don’t guess. Don’t procrastinate. Instead Contact Us. Call us with questions about your dog’s registration, or to schedule an appointment to have your dog’s new microchip placed and registered (or an existing microchip or tattoo registered).

p.s. Remember that each cantonal veterinary office holds specific regulations for the canton over which they preside. Familiarize yourself with their specific rules to prevent any run-ins with the law.

p.p.s. If you have any questions contact Dr. Omaboe, the veterinary doctor at Cabinet Vétérinaire International. His staff can answer questions, schedule appointments to keep your dog in compliance with ANIS and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and is available 24 hours a day for emergency veterinary services. 10 days might seem like plenty of time to schedule an appointment for your dog after arrival in Switzerland, but moving can be stressful, and things can easily be forgotten. Compliance with the law is not something that we want you to forget!

 

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