Dog Leash Rules Reconsidered; Increased Traffic Controls Underway; Shop Doors Cause Dismay

News For 18 December 2018

Dog owners that have enjoyed a stroll with their pets in Lange Erlen park are relieved to know that new leash rules have been suspended.  The intention of the rules was to reduce dog attacks, especially during the breeding season, on people and wildlife.  However, statistics did not bear out that there was any heightened risk of dog attacks in the park relative to the total number of reported dog bites in Basel, which was 56 during the period of 2015-2018.  In addition, over 8000 signatures were collected from dog-owners pleading with law makers to preserve one of the few remaining spaces in the city where dogs can roam off their leashes.


Consider yourself warned.  In an effort to cut down on drinking and driving, which peaks in this region around the Christmas and New Year's holiday season, Cantonal police have joined forces with their German counterparts to set up blockades and checkpoints to test drivers' alcohol consumption.  Last Thursday evening, over 1600 motorists were pulled over and questioned near all the major border crossings.  The legal limit for driving after having consumed is a blood-alcohol level of 0.5 parts per thousand, roughly the equivalent of 2 drinks - and largely dependent on your age, weight and sex.


You may have noticed when walking along Basel's shopping high street, Freiestrasse, that many of the large retailers keep their doors open during the winter despite the cold.  This behavior has not gone unnoticed among Basel's more environmentally concerned citizens that have complained to the Department of the Environment and Energy.  However, the Department's spokesperson pointed out that there is no legal prohibition against leaving the doors open during business hours, despite the loss of heating.  In response, the department has sent agents to photograph the stores, apparently in an effort to shame them into keeping them closed during the cold season.  Store managers, see things differently however, pointing out that as a practical matter, there's not much difference between keeping the doors closed or open when a lot of shopping traffic enters and leaves the stores.