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For somebody who’s used to living in Italy moving to Switzerland is kind of a cultural shock.

Even though I used to live in Milan, which is probably one of the most “efficient” Italian cities, and notwithstanding the fact that I’ve always spent my winter holidays in  Switzerland, nothing can prepare you to the experience of becoming part of such an efficient and conscientious community.

There are too many differences to tell, but some are just amazing.

Let’s take dogs, for instance. Milanese people love dogs very much and there are some 160,000 dogs enrolled with the dog registrar of Milan (source http://gaiaitalia.it/home/iniziative/68-abbandono/117-la-presenza-degli-animali.html). And all this affection and devotion for pets is definitely something you can clearly tell by the thousands of dog poops that plaster the city pavements. There’s no chance that you can stroll around writing a post or watching your mobile in Milan: you may even succeed in avoiding a car crash, but you definitely won’t be able to avoid stepping into a dog poop.

People love their pets but not their fellow citizens… Not as much as to clean up their own dogs’ scatological effects. Whoever can go to a pet shop (or a kennel or a breeding farm or a shelter, or whatever), buy a dog and start this very gratifying relationship.

Now, in Switzerland if you want to have a dog you have to deserve it. 

You have to take classes actually 😳.

Before buying your first dog you have to attend an OPAn (OPAn is for Ordinance on Animal Protection) theoretical course of at least 4 hours to be made acquainted with the dog’s needs and the way you should raise it. Then you get a certificate that allows you to get a dog.

Once you have your pet you’re requested to take practical classes together with your dog in order to learn how to train and deal with your animal.

This provided of course that your dog doesn’t fall within the breeds subject to restrictions (which include Pit Bull, Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Dogue de Bordeaux, Mastiff, Rottweiler and almost all the shepherds), in which case you have to file a specific application with the Town Hall attaching, further to a specific OPAn certificate, your criminal survey. Once the paperwork is complete the town hall sends it to the local veterinary who decides whether or not to authorise you to get that particular dog. And in any case the authorisation costs you some additional 250CHF 😬.

And what’s the effect of this regulation?

Well, actually there are not as many dogs as in Milan, but definitely you can take your time when you stroll around and look at the sky.