The new animal protection law, which was been introduced in 2005, is considered modern and even got primacy of law. It therefore is under the responsibility of the legislator to protect animals from maltreatment.
Through an amendment of the animal protection law BGBI.Nr.35/2008 on the 11.01.2008, a regulation was made (§8a), which prohibits the hawk and sale of animals in public places.
Yet open to criticism is the fact that on the 24.11.2008 an amendment of the animal keeping and trade regulation law article §5 (clause 1, with the addition 1a) has been made, which allows the keeping and sale of dogs and cats in pet shops, if certain requirements are met.
Illegal Trade with Dog Puppies
Austria has boundaries with the northern Czech Republic, Slovakia,/Hungary in the East and Italy and Slovenia in the South.
This geographical position makes Austria THE transition country for illegal trade of dog puppies.
Several times a week, puppies little more than a few weeks old, mainly from the eastern European countries (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland) and Belgium, are transported via Austria, in small vans, pick-up trucks, boxes, bags, without fresh air, water or food.
Through Vienna Airport alone, approximately 20.000 puppies are shipped abroad. Furthermore thousands of puppies that were dumped and traded through the internet (= a law free area), are purchased on motorway stations or other meeting points.
The trade with puppies booms European wide and unscrupulous traders make a lot of money.
The suffering of the mother dogs is immense:
They are kept in dark, tiny crates, they only get rubbish for food, lay on cold stone floors, don’t get veterinary help, NEVER leave their crates, NEVER see daylight.
They get hormone injections to make sure they procreate once a year. If they defend themselves during the mating act, they get strapped. Once the puppies are 3-4 weeks old, they are taken away.
Most of the puppies that are taken away from their mothers too early are prone to illnesses. Health certificates and vaccines are lacking or simply fake.
About 40% of the puppies don’t survive the “trip” or die after a few weeks with their new owners.
All that leaves the traders incredulous, being as the supply is rolling continuously. Consumers that want to purchase a pedigree dog cheaply can always be found.
Because of the mentioned animal trade law, the police are able to confiscate the dog puppies, which are brought to nearby shelters, where they are looked after by veterinaries, at the cost of the shelters.
Once the dog puppies are vaccinated, medically supplied and provided with the necessary paperwork, they have to be returned to the traders, as long as they pay for the arising expenses, including the fee for the illegal transport.
The traders pay these expenses in petty cash, the fees are far to low to be a deterant.
The fee is disproportional to the profit that is made by the dog puppy trade.
In addition to that, the trade with dog puppies is processed throughout the internet, where you can order any breed – and for a very low price. Prices for pedigree dogs are between 150-200 Euros, where you normally pay over 1000 Euros.
“Pre-orders” are welcome and “every breed is available”.
Internet pages are numerous and the number is increasing steadily.
§ 5 of the animal Austrian protection law prohibits the organisation or execution of dogfights, still they take place quite often.
First of all it has to be said, that a “fighting dog” itself doesn’t exist, dogs – no matter which breed – are rather turned into dangerous fighting machines by education and systematic methods of the owners.
Often dogs from neighbour countries are imported and “educated”, which means that their aggression level is raised and the threshold is lowered through the following methods:
- they are beaten and maltreated on a daily basis, they accept the treatment from their owners by loyalty
- they are locked into a dark shower cabin, where cold water is poured on them for over 30 minutes
- they are locked into a running car wash, where the dogs break into total panic, which then turns into aggression
- their biting strength is trained on cats and smaller dogs
- sometimes the teeth of fight dogs are are filed off in order to use them for sparring
- last but not least, the dogs are trained to fight silently, no barking, no whimpering and hardly any cry of pain is being heard.
Concerning the trade of puppies:
With the prohibition of trade and sale of dogs in public places, an important step has already been made and created difficulty for dog traders.
It is absolutely necessary to withdraw the allowance of pet shops to sell dogs and cats. The danger of infiltration through illegal dog traders is very high.
The trade of dog puppies is a European wide problem, which can only be regulated by European law, which regulates the breeding and trade of pets.
It is important to change the recent EU law regarding the transport of animals. Confiscated dogs shouldn’t be returned to the traders and no payment of compensation should be made.
Fees have to be raised drastically, in order to deter illegal traders. Furthermore, the internet has to be linked to the legal regulations – which requires a European wide approach.
- introduction of higher fines and restrictions
- development of a civil force and strict controls
- inward transfer of undercover agents, to get hold of the backers of the dogfight scene
- European wide collaboration of police departments – including the internet
- introduction of a European wide prohibition of dogfights
Bericht: Birgit Lewe
Bild : Kathrin Hansen