St Bernard dogs have long been associated with ski resorts and alpine holidays down the years. The image of the potentially life-saving #Animals arriving to assist in the search and rescue of an unfortunate skier are a part of folklore. However, it seems that their popularity as a tourist attraction may be subject to greater control in future. The Swiss resort of Zermatt has been banned from allowing photographs of holidaymakers posing with the iconic dogs, amid allegations of potential animal cruelty.

Zermatt is situated at the foot of some of Switzerland's highest peaks and as such has become renowned as an ideal base for those looking to pursue mountaineering and skiing activities in the Swiss Alps.

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It is popular with those tourists seeking to capture that seemingly essential image of the snow-capped peaks in their photographs. What's more, the additional adornment of a St Bernard in the picture seems to have become almost obligatory to many visiting the area.

That simple concept appears to have been taken a step too far by many though. The dogs seem to have been expected to pose hour after hour for the holiday snaps out in the snow. The Swiss Animal Protection Association identified that such behaviour commonly occurred without any form of break being allowed or a chance for the dog to periodically move about.

As a result of such concerns being highlighted to the local council, the decision has been taken to prevent such photographs being taken in future. That only occurred after animal cruelty by the St Bernards' owners was alleged by the charity last month, via the filing of a legal complaint.

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Additional findings included in the report by the animal protection charity suggested that the dogs were commonly tied up for extended periods of time. No allowance seemed to be made for dog walking to be built into their daily schedules. Even the basic consideration of food and water provision seemed to have been neglected in some cases.

Perhaps more shocking were the liberties that were taken with some of the dogs. With #Children even being pictured on the dogs' backs as if they were riding the animal.

It seems that the shameful degradation of the animals is to now be (thankfully) brought to an end though. The charity have welcomed the ban and suggested that it indicates the general warmth felt towards the animals by the resort.