Dog owners should know German rules

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

American pet owners in the KMC who PCS or get deployed should know  what to do with their animals. According to German Animal Protection Law if they are not following local pet care laws, pet owners can get fined. Pet owners should try to find somebody who want to take over the  animal, or place an ad and sell or just give away their pet.

The animal protection law also determines how to properly keep a dog. The law says that people keeping, caring or having to care for an animal are not allowed to limit the animal’s opportunity for species-specific movement in a way that the animal suffers from pain, diseases or injuries.

“The main mistake Americans make is to keep dogs in a crate all day long,” said Sissi Kösling from the German-American Community Office in Kaiserslautern.
Vigilant neighbors inform the Department of Public Order of this kind of animal abuse. Department of Public Order officials ask GACO employees for their support in contacting these American pet owners to let them know that there is a German Animal Protection Law applicable for all animals kept as pets. They try to solve problems before official authorities take action.

According to animal protection association officials a dog should not stay alone without being walked for more than five hours. A dog being kept indoors needs proper exercise and should be taken out for walks several times a day.
Recommended is at least one hour total per day. People are not allowed to chain up the dog within the apartment or keep it locked in a separate room.

“Before buying a pet, people should consider the responsibility and the disadvantages of keeping an animal,” said Kösling. “What happens to the pet when the owner goes on leave or gets deployed?” The animal protection law governs the cohabitation of people and pets. “An animal is a living being and it’s not there to kill boredom,” said Kösling. Some people also keep their dogs on balconies, in basement rooms and bathrooms. These are not the right places to keep a dog.

If a dog is at risk, police get with the official veterinarian and they both get the dog out of its miserable condition. Violations of the law might result in a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine of up to €25,000.

Departments of Public Order in the KMC continuously receive complaints about pet owners walking their dogs on public streets, squares, parks and playgrounds and not picking up their dog’s dirt and dispose of it.

“It should be common sense that children’s playgrounds and public parks cannot be used as dog toilets,” said Michael Brehm from the Department of Public Order in Weilerbach. “Dog poop can transfer bacteria and germs, which cause the risk of getting sick for playing children and those taking care of the areas.”

The Weilerbach and all other community offices have special dog dirt bags to pass out to dog owners, free of charge. Union community administration offices released a danger prevention ordinance, which regulates the walking of dogs inside and outside of towns.

Dog owners must keep their dogs on a leash while walking them on public streets in housing areas. In all other areas, dogs must be automatically put on a leash when other people approach. Violators may be punished with fines up to €5,000.  
 “Another problem people make us aware of is the loud barking of dogs all day long,” said Brehm. “This is a noise protection concern.”  Dog owners need to make sure that their pets don’t bark and whine during quiet hours: 1 to 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Outside these hours, dog owners must ensure that dog noises do not last longer than 10 consecutive minutes (or more than 30 minutes cumulatively per day).
If necessary, dog owners must, to ensure that a dog does not disturb neighbors, keep dogs inside if they cannot control the dog’s barking. The Department of Public Order takes appropriate action here as well.