Germany

Pets and Animals in Germany
Domestic pets are very popular in Germany.Dogs in particular are often seen out and about in restaurants and shops and travelling on public transport.

However recent laws,particularly in Berlin,are tightening up on hygiene issues and other risks to the public from animals,such as attacks by dangerous dog breeds.These pages aim to give an overview of the current situation.

Bringing Pets into Germany
The regulations in force about what pets may be brought into Germany exist mainly to control the movement of cats,dogs,ferrets,rabbits,rodents,ornamental fish,parrots and parakeets,carrier pigeons,some other bird species,and horses.

Anyone with rare or unusual pets should seek advice from the German Embassy in their country of origin.Some species will be subject to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).Owners should consult the CITES website in their home country or the German Embassy in their home country for their specific breed.

Those renting accommodation should check that the landlord will allow animals before moving in.

Owning a Pet
All pet owners have various statutory obligations.The main piece of legislation in Germany is the German Animal Welfare Act.

Basic common sense rules apply regarding providing adequate food and water,suitable housing and avoiding anything which could be interpreted as ill-treatment.Rules also govern the professional care and medical treatment of animals.Kennel owners and breeders have to demonstrate that they too have suitable premises and measures in place to care for animals.

All pet owners are required to make sure that their animal does not cause harm to others or damage property.Some pet owners choose to arrange liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung) specifically for this purpose.

Identification
All dogs in Germany must be microchipped for identification.The microchip allows them to be identified and reunited with their owners if they get lost.Tattoos are no a longer valid pet identification in Germany.Cats do not need to be microchipped.

Dog Tax (Hundesteuer)
Dogs in Germany must be registered at the local town hall and dog tax (Hundesteuer) must be paid.This is the equivalent of a dog licence and the cost varies between local councils and different breeds of dog are taxed at different rates (for example a Chihuahua costs less than a Doberman),and in some places owners must pay per dog.In Berlin,for example,second and subsequent dogs are charged at a higher rate than a single dog so as to discourage people from owning too many.In other states the same rate is charged irrespective of whether one or two dogs are owned and some states do not levy a charge for a second dog.Dog tax must be renewed annually.

On arrival in Germany,dog owners have 30 days to register their dog and pay the tax.

  • For an overview of dog tax by district: Click here (in German)
  • For more information about dog tax: Click here (in German)

Guide dogs for the blind,hearing dogs for the deaf and other assistance dogs used by disabled persons as well as dogs used by forestry officials and gamekeepers are exempt from dog tax.

Cats do not need a licence.Other animals such as rodents and birds seldom need any specific form of ID.

Further Information

Anyone who finds an animal should report it. Go to any police station or one of the official animal collecting points. Many of these are located at animal rescue centres around the country.Look in the Yellow Pagesfor Animal Rescue Centres (Tierheim) in the area.

Anyone who loses an animal should notify the local police and rescue centres.Tagged or micro-chipped animals are more likely to be reunited with their owners.In the case of dogs and cats especially,their micro-chip can be read the owner contacted.

Animals are typically held in a holding compound for just a few days before being moved to an animal rescue centre while attempts are made to either reunite them with their owners or re-home them.

Europetnet is a pet database operating throughout Europe for finding lost animals. Pet owners need to register the animal’s microchip number with the Europetnet database. This will allow for the missing animal to be traced from any member country in Europe.

Europetnet Administrative & Head Office
At: Rue de la Presse 4,Drukpersstraat,1000 Brussels
Tel: 07 023 31 47
Fax: 07 023 31 81
e-mail

Details can be found below of restrictions on breeds considered dangerous and on pets in public,as well as how to travel with pets on public transport.

Restricted Breeds
Attacks on members of the public by certain breeds of dog have led to legislation restricting ownership of dogs deemed to be a danger to the public.The Law on Restrictions for the Introduction and Importation of Dogs (Hundeverbringungs- und einfuhrbeschränkungsgesetz HundVerbrEinfG) came into force in Germany on 1 April 2001.Certain breeds of dog considered as dangerous are no longer allowed into the country.The customs authorities enforce this law.In the main,the following breeds and their cross-breeds will be refused entry:

  • Pitbull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Bull Terrier

In addition,some other breeds are outlawed by various districts.Dog owners would be well-advised to check with their local authorities.Exceptions are sometimes made for tourists and disabled persons as long as satisfactory paperwork can be supplied to the effect that the dog is not considered of a violent nature.

Pets in Public Places
Although dogs are welcomed in many places,certain establishments (typically those selling food) may not allow them.If this is the case a sign will be displayed which is an image of a dog and the words «Unfortunately,we have to wait outside» (Wir muessen leider draussen warten).The same rules often apply to children’s play areas and to cemeteries.

Dogs should be kept on a lead in public places:

  • the lead should be a maximum length of one metre
  • in small parks and sports grounds the lead may be up to two metres long

Although there is no legal requirement to clean up after a dog in public,people are becoming increasingly sensitive about it.

Animals on public transport
Dogs are commonly carried on trains. Most public transport companies allow dogs to travel free,but some (including in Berlin) may demand a standard ticket for two or more dogs.

  • Buses,trams and the metro:
    • Small animals travelling in a cage or other transport housing,as well as small dogs may travel freely
    • Larger dogs may also travel for free but must be muzzled
  • Trains:
    • Pets travelling in cages or similar transport housing as well as small to medium-sized dogs that can fit on a person’s knees or in the luggage compartment may be taken on trains free of charge
    • A child ticket must be bought for larger dogs,which must also wear a muzzle (except guide dogs)
    • For international and overnight journeys,a child ticket must be bought for all dogs
    • Seats may not be reserved for dogs

Statutory and Regular Vaccinations
All dogs must be vaccinated annually against rabies.No other vaccinations are compulsory.However,vets recommend that all caring owners vaccinate their pets annually for the following:

Dogs:

  • C – Hundestaupe (Distemper)
  • H – Hepatitis (infectious hepatitis)
  • P – Parvovirose (Parvovirus)
  • L – Leptospirose (Leptospirosis)

For further informations:
http://berlin.angloinfo.com/information/family/pets/

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