Take care of your pets

Compiled Story and photo by Petra Lessoing
435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

What happens to Scruffy and Fido when their owner deploys or moves back to the U.S.? Unfortunately, some KMC pet owners have chosen to abandon their pets. Under the German Animal Protection Law, pet owners can be fined for taking this action.

Pet owners should try to find somebody who wants to take ownership of the pet or place an ad to sell or give away the pet. Pet owners can also drop off the pet at the stray animal facility on Vogelweh, or take them to the German Tierheim (animal shelter) at Kaiserslautern-Einsiedlerhof.

The animal protection law also determines how to properly keep a pet. 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 Claudia Beavers from the German-American Community Office.
Vigilant neighbors can inform the Department of Public Order if they witness any type of animal abuse.

“Department of Public Order officials ask us at GACO to please try to reach these American pet owners to let them know that there is a German Animal Protection Law applicable for all animals kept as pets,” said Mrs. Beavers. “We 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, at least one hour total per day. Owners are not allowed to chain up the dog within the home, keep pets locked in a separate room or a crate. Furthermore, pet owners are not allowed to keep their dogs in balconies, basement rooms and bathrooms.

“Before buying a pet, people should consider the responsibility and the disadvantages of keeping an animal,” said Sissi Kösling, GACO host nation advisor. “When military newcomers stop at our office during a USO orientation tour, we try to sensitize people and ask them to consider if they really need a dog if nobody is at home all day long who can take care of the pet.” 

If a dog is at risk, police work with veterinarian offices to get pets out of an unfit environment. Violations of the law might result in a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine of up to €25,000.

“Many neighbors also call when the dogs, which are alone all day, won’t stop barking,” said Mrs. Beavers. “This is a noise protection concern.”

The Department of Public Order takes appropriate action in this case as well.
You can contact the County of Kaiserslautern
Department of Public Order at 06317-105-450.