Zermatt bans Saint Bernard dog photos
The municipality of Zermatt decided on Thursday to ban the taking of tourist photos with Saint Bernard dogs in the mountain resort town in the canton of Valais, according to media reports.
The measure came after concerns were raised by animal rights activists over the ordeal faced by the dogs, who were forced to pose for hours on end without moving and sometimes had to carry children on their backs.
The Swiss Animal Protection (SAP) association congratulated the municipality for taking the action, the ATS news agency reported.
The organization had earlier filed complaints for several years about the conditions in which the dogs were kept, ATS said.
By putting an end to the use of these dogs to pose with tourists, the municipality of Zermatt is showing that “it likes animals”, the SAP group said.
The association recently issued a report about the poor conditions allegedly faced by the Saint Bernards, used as props for tourists to pose with against the backdrop of the Matterhorn.
The report follows investigations by SAP in 2012, 2014 and from January 26th to February 4th this year when representatives of the group closely observed the conditions the dogs underwent.
The Saint Bernards were tied up extensively, were not taken for walks and often went without food and water for long periods, said the report, which singled out a photo agency as the worst offender.
The report maintained the animals were kept in cruel conditions that violated Swiss laws for animal protection.