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Germany May Restrict Attack Dogs

June 27, 2000

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) _ Hours after two attack dogs killed a 6-year-old boy in Hamburg, an elderly man in Cologne was hospitalized with serious bites from a pit bull, prompting stepped up demands Tuesday for tighter restrictions on potentially dangerous breeds.

Cologne police said a 73-year-old man was walking his two dogs Monday night when he spotted a man with a pit bull that was not on a leash. The victim told police he warned the man about the dangers of letting an attack dog run free and pointed out the tragic death of the boy in Hamburg less than 12 hours earlier.

``The man with the pit bull reacted so aggressively that he immediately punched the 73-year-old knocking him to the ground, where the pit bull attacked him, biting him in the face,″ a police statement said.

The attackers fled and police are still searching for them.

Earlier Monday, a pit bull and Staffordshire terrier jumped over a school fence and attacked children in Hamburg.

The owners of the dogs attempted to pull the dogs off and were bitten themselves, police said.

Police shot and killed both dogs. Medics attempted to revive a wounded 6-year-old child, but failed.

The dog’s owner was arrested after medical treatment and faces possible manslaughter charges. Police said the pit bull attacked three other dogs in April and the owner had been ordered to keep the dogs leashed and muzzled when outside.

The latest canine attacks come after a federal and states interior ministers’ conference in May on curtailing ownership and breeding of attack dogs, which ended with a decision to let the 15 states decide individually on what action to take.

In an interview Tuesday on Deutschlandfunk radio, federal Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin complained that the states were moving too slowly.

``If state laws with clear and competent instructions aren’t forthcoming, then the federal level must take an urgent initiative,″ she said.

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