There is a law in Lower Saxony (and in Bremen — a city-state — if you wanna be a smart ass about it), called Leinenzwang, which dictates in no uncertain terms:
All dogs must remain leashed throughout the months of April 1 — July 15, because we lawmakers are a bunch of idiots and we love it when people tickle our poopers.
But seriously: we can’t let our dogs run around off-leash for three and a half months out of every year. Why, you ask, would anyone care if we walk our dogs with a leash — or without — through a forest, park, or virtually everywhere dogs love to walk most? (Assuming yours isn’t violently retarded, I mean.) Well, I shit you not, this is the reason, according to local Hannover newspaper, Der Sitzpinkler:
It is our duty to protect all wildlife, especially in the ‘Species Management Areas’ of Lower Saxony. The Spring and early Summer months present many challenges to the enforcement of wildlife regulations, especially where they concern off-leash canines, such as: heightened aggression surrounding female dogs in heat; increased flea, tick and other parasitic activity; and the egg producing season of certain ground-nesting birds, such as the Blue-Footed Shit-for-Brains.”
Okay, all jokes aside, the primary reason the Hannover forestry service will give you for this law is to protect a specific kind of ground-nesting bird. And you know what I think about ground-nesting birds? I think they deserve to die. I mean, would you build your home within reach of every single predator on earth and then raise your newborn babies inside it? No! You wouldn’t! That would be like those mouth-breathing trailer park halfwits who continue to reside — generation after generation — in areas with annual, well-documented, definitely-gonna-wreck-your-shit, tornado seasons. (Or those other geniuses who happily reside inside an active volcano.)
Basically, these stupid little birds have survived Darwin’s wrath solely due to ham-fisted human intervention, and are now forcing me to keep my dog, Yeti, on a leash — ruining the fun and freedom of the outdoors for both of us — and making our daily walks through the forest a 2-hour exercise in tug-of-war and silently blossoming rage. So, the very next time I see a bird making its nest on the ground, I’m gonna line it up between a couple trees and punt that motherfucker like a goddamn field goal.
But protecting wildlife is really just an excuse. What this whole “Leinenzwang” thing really boils down to — at least in Hannover — is making money for the state government by ticketing dog owners €70+ euros each time they let their dogs run free. So basically, no real reason at all. (But on a side note, those Austrian cops down south seriously arrested some dude in Vienna for jogging with his dog off-leash. My favorite part of the story was when he said, “I jokingly asked if he was going to arrest me.”)
And yet still, you might be wondering, what’s the big deal? Why not go jogging with your dog, or ride along side him on your bike? He can still be leashed and get his exercise at the same time. And what about those designated leash-free dog parks? Can’t you just take him to one of those?
Well, I’d like to respond to these points in the order they were received:
- The big deal is, this law isn’t completely honest, and it makes about as much sense as shooting craps in assless chaps.
- I do take Yeti jogging with me, but while I’m trotting along at a pretty good clip — you know, about to throw a heart gasket — he’s busy yawning. Like my pace is so slow it’s boring him. That ain’t no kind of exercise at all.
- Yeti is a very young beagle. This means he has the hunting instincts of a serial killer coupled with the attention span of a fruit fly. If we were leashed together while I’m on my bike, I bet we’d go half a block before a tumbling maple leaf catches his eye and the little psycho drags us both into oncoming traffic.
- When you look at a map of Hannover indicating the leash-free dog areas (.pdf), you might spot a couple tiny, solid-green squares waaaaaay the hell out in the middle of Nowheresville. All the rest with the diagonal green stripes are subject to the 3.5 months of Leinenzwang. (Seriously. Ask a dog owner in Hannover about this. They’ll shake their heads and give you that classic, ice-cold German smile — like you just told a joke and they absolutely hated it.)
So, yeah; the dog leash laws in Lower Saxony and Bremen can get kicked right in the dick, and therefore, deserve exactly 1 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds. (Mostly because I forgot to make a zero diamonds image when I threw this rating system together, god dammit.)
Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!
In NYC parks, the informal off-leash “agreement” is that dogs are allowed off-leash between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. ;) xoM
Hmm. Helpful, but it still sucks! :)
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I feel your pain. I have 2 psychotic GSP’s who need 45 minutes of sprinting-after-a-ball exercise in order to be even remotely sane at home, so a law like that would be a dealbreaker for me. Fortunately, while I do think it’s technically against the law in the local park I take them to, it’s not enforced. At least not when I take them in the middle of the day… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I can only imagine how you must feel. I’ve got friends with dogs and once in a while are going for walk with their dogs. But I have to admit… there IS a lot of wildlife around during these months. You’ve got a puppy, but I take big dogs out who could easily take down a deer, not to talk about smaller animals – and catch a breeding or nursing mother. Not good.
I think you thinking about this problem too much. Just leave your dog locked up inside and go for a walk by yourself. You know, visit the local brewery and don’t even look back as your dog Yeti’s little face is pressed up against the window as you trot off down the road. Or just make your wife walk him. That’s just as good as you walking him. Screw exercise!
Haw haw haw! Well said, Sir.
As someone who’s afraid of dogs I’d love to go on walks through nature(ish) without rabid looking dogs just running around charging at everything. Leash laws are great!
You must face your fear, Anne. Remember: you could end a dog’s life with relative ease. 🐶👊💀😀
I’d actually prefer to have those useless predators leashed if it is necessary for people to keep them. Plus, what a shame that this happened to a creature as proud and free as the wolf. Being downbred to chihuahuas and beagles.
Have you thought about getting a threadmill? 😀
I live in Leipzig and had a dog. Dogs here are required to be leashed all year round so you guys in Lower Saxony (and in Bremen) have it good.
I brought my little shitter with me to Germany and he’s already been attacked by two dogs who weren’t on a leash. Other big dogs that aren’t on a leash also try to play with him and are too rough, and the owner has a hard time gaining control of them. There aren’t any leash laws here in Cologne, but the good ones usually leash their pup when my dog and I are approaching, and then let them free once we pass each other. I guess it depends on the pooch and their owner, and a law is a bit extreme, but I do wish there was some kind of rule.
Uh my dog was attacked by an off the leash dog, all dogs should be on leash all the time! He needs a surgery now because of people like you. I dont care if you say you’re dog is friendly not everyones is, if yours approached another what’s stopping that dog from attacking yours? I’m talking to the city about rising fines and having stricter laws on the leash.