Wheelchair-bound dog gets disability pass

19th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

19 November 2004 , BAD HOMBURG - Authorities in Germany, where animal rights are anchored in the federal constitution, issued a disability pass on Friday to a wheelchair-bound pooch. Eight-year-old Teddy, a wire-haired dachshund, will now be permitted to roam freely off-leash in his custom-made canine wheelchair in any and all public parks in the health resort of Bad Homburg, officials said. Teddy's owner Andreas Bock must, however, carry the mobile mutt's disability pass at all times to avert the kind of

19 November 2004 

BAD HOMBURG - Authorities in Germany, where animal rights are anchored in the federal constitution, issued a disability pass on Friday to a wheelchair-bound pooch.

Eight-year-old Teddy, a wire-haired dachshund, will now be permitted to roam freely off-leash in his custom-made canine wheelchair in any and all public parks in the health resort of Bad Homburg, officials said.

Teddy's owner Andreas Bock must, however, carry the mobile mutt's disability pass at all times to avert the kind of encounter with animal-control officers that made embarrassing nationwide headlines for the city earlier this week.

Bock, 43, was out walking with Teddy in Bad Homburg's famed Kurpark spa park when animal-control officers issued a citation to Bock for failing to comply with municipal leash laws.

Owing to a spinal injury, Teddy is unable to use his back legs. So his ingenious owner has rigged up a two-wheeled apparatus which, when strapped to the disabled dog's hindquarters, permits Teddy to use his front legs to propel himself along any reasonably smooth surface.

"There's no way I can keep him on a leash, though," Bock argued after being slapped with a fine. "Teddy gets along fine with his impromptu wheelchair but I'm just afraid a leash would get caught up in the wheels and cause him to tumble and injure himself worse."

Television images of Teddy scampering happily around his front garden on two front legs and two rear wheels caused an outcry from viewers enraged at bureaucratic narrow-mindedness about leash laws.

"It's not as though a crippled, middle-aged, little wiener dog poses a menace to the public," his owner told reporters. "Teddy's not going to be savaging any babies. He might lick them to death, but he can't possibly harm anybody," he said.

"Teddy suffered a painful fractured disc and has undergone extensive surgery and can no longer get around except in his wheelchair," Bock explained. "He dearly loves to get outdoors and romp and I believe after all he has gone through he deserves that bit of pleasure for the few years he has left of life."

Shame-faced local officials, deluged with phone calls and letters, quickly reprimanded the animal-control officers and ordered issuance of the special disability pass.

"Teddy is a special case and Bad Homburg is a special city," said city manager Andreas Moering, referring to Bad Homburg's reputation as a health resort.

"If we grant special access for disabled people to our public facilities, then it only stands to reason that little Teddy should also be given special access," Moering said.

Germany's constitution was amended two years ago to include a clause protecting the rights of animals to humane treatment.

DPA

Subject: German news

 

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