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Geneva Pet Regulations Tightened, Among Others

NOTICE: Swiss Fed Set to Enforce new Regulations for Dogs, Cats, and a Variety of Other Domesticated Animals

We’ve all heard that “no man is an island”, and according to the Swiss Federal Council on September 1, 2008, no guinea pig or budgie should be either.

The new regulations aren’t targeted solely at owners of cavies and budgies, but include 175 pages of rules that apply to circuses, farms, and zoos, as well as individuals that own other domesticated pets.

Swiss Pet Regulations Met with Skepticism

Proponents of the new laws, prospected to be enforced in September 2010, include the animals whose care is in question, as well as those concerned about unemployment rates in Switzerland. There will be manpower required to enforce these laws, as well as trainers needed to educate pet owners.

On the flip side, there are opponents that question the potential of these 175 pages to bring order. For instance,

  • How can minimum cage sizes for budgies and guinea pigs be uniformly enforced?

  • How will a literal ban on dog ownership for those who haven’t completed a dog ownership course be enforced? What will happen to dogs whose owners are out of compliance?

  • How will residents of Geneva, where tight dog ownership regulations are already in force, react to 16 hours of additional required training?

Zoos and Farms Must Adhere to Swiss Regulations Also

Farther out of the budgie budget are minimum cage size requirements for large animals, such as elephants and rhinoceroses. Cleanliness guidelines apply to zoos and circuses, which the Swiss government reserves the right to enforce.

Farmers are likely to zoo-out about the upcoming enforcement. Some rules are established (like the ban of chicken cages since 1981), but others might come as a surprise. Long-term tethering of animals is now out of the question, while swine have earned the right to showers on hot summer days and clean pens all year-round. And horses, like guinea pigs and budgies, will no longer be living solitary lives.

Likewise, breeders are going to have to breed a new attitude in regard to care of animals on their properties.

Questions about the New Regulations?

Visit the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office’s website to familiarize yourself with regulations that apply to your specific animal ownership situation. Remember that whether you’re a life-long Geneva native or a newcomer to Switzerland, animal ownership education is not an option – it’s a requirement. If, after visiting the above site, you still have questions regarding your obligations you may Contact Us.

p.s. Don’t wait to contact a veterinary doctor. His veterinary staff can answer your questions about the newest, Swiss Federal Council regulations…to help you to stay in tune with your pet’s needs…and in compliance with the law.

p.p.s. The newest Swiss animal ownership laws will not go into full effect until September of 2010, and until they do, the Swiss government wants to stress their desire to encourage education, rather than to enforce with a strong arm. This, however, does not indicate a lax attitude on their part, when penalties are called for. If an incident, such as a dog bite, calls for action…action will be taken.

p.p.p.s. You might own a seemingly invisible pet (like a budgie or guinea pig), or a run an organization that displays the largest land mammal alive. Either way, be prepared…for education, restrictions, and tougher requirements


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