Pets in Germany
Germany has implemented a dangerous dog law that prohibits the breeding or trade of "dangerous dogs." Dogs with a history of attacking or biting people can also fall under this new law. "Dangerous dogs" may not be imported to Germany under any circumstances. Already the attempt to import a dangerous dog is punishable by law.
For more information and a list of prohibited breeds, check out the Dangerous Dogs
Furthermore, there are strict guidelines for leaving pets alone and general upkeep. In addition to the difference in laws and guidelines, shipping pets and finding a home to house them can be challenging tasks.
Not all landlords allow pets, and even those who do often only allow small pets. For those staying on base, keep in mind you are limited to two pets and dogs breeds on the dangerous dog list are not allowed in on-base housing.
Abandoning your pet at any time during your stay in Germany is not an option. Due to all these issues, many individuals often decide to leave "Fluffy" and "Fido" with family during their overseas tour.
Before you ship your pet, a veterinarian must verify the health of the animal and issue a certificate dated within 10 days of your arrival. The certificate must be in German and English and state that the animal is in good health and had a rabies vaccination more than 30 days old but less than one year. Military vets are usually familiar with this certificate, but civilian vets may need several weeks lead time to order the certificate from the Department of Agriculture.
A bilingual (German language / English language) health certificate is needed to get your pet past airport customs and can be obtained by clicking here
. A USDA seal is required on this form. If your local or military vet cannot provide the USDA seal you will have to travel to your state's USDA certified veterinarian. They can provide the stamp on your pet's certificate for a small fee. This seal is good for at least 30 days, so you will have some time before you travel to get this taken care of. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website should also have a checklist of everything you need before traveling in case anything is missing from this list.
A second, standard health certificate from your vet is required by airlines in order for your pet to fly. This can be obtained from any U.S. veterinarian and should also be accompanied by a letter of acclimation, which states your pet is able to withstand the temperature changes while in the airplane. This certificate is only good for 10 days, so make sure you get it no more than a few days before your flight.
Additional information about shipping your pet to Germany can be found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/animals/animal_germany.shtml
Don't wait until the last minute to discuss the health certificate with your vet. The time limit for the validity of the certificate and vaccination is subject to change and varies dependent upon the air carrier.
Microchips and Vaccines
Your pet will need to have a 15-digit International Standardization Organization pet microchip, which conforms to ISO 11784 and operates at 132.4 kHz. U.S. veterinarians typically insert a nine- or 10-digit microchip. If you arrive in the EU with a nine- or 10-digit microchip, you will be required to carry your own microchip scanner with you. If your animal does not have an ISO microchip, the veterinarian clinic can provide them for $20.00.
Your animal will need to be current on all vaccines, especially rabies. Many airlines are changing their regulations for rabies vaccines and are requiring pets to be vaccinated no less than 30 days and no more than one year prior to flying. This means even if your pet received a three-year rabies vaccine two years ago, some airlines may not fly your dog. Make sure you check with your airline prior to flying to make sure your pet has the proper vaccinations before flying. This will eliminate delay in your pet's travel plans.
Germany does not require quarantine for any animal.
Pet shipment fees
As of 1 February 2013, DOD passengers will incur a €55 (Euro) per pet examination fee upon entry to the European Union. The fee is non-reimbursable and does not exempt any additional entry requirements.
Commercial Pet Shipment
When you ship your pet, it will be at your own expense. Arrange pet shipment well in advance by contacting your current traffic management office or airline. If you ship your pet separately, ship it to Frankfurt Germany. At Frankfurt International Airport, you pick up your pet at the civilian airfreight terminal.
If you move at certain times of the year, especially during the summer, you may not be able to ship your pet at the same time. Check with the airline early to find out about restrictions. You may have to make arrangements to kennel your dog or leave the dog with a relative before you can ship it to Germany.
AMC Space-Available Pet Shipment
When you travel on PCS orders between the U.S. and overseas bases on AMC military chartered flights, you can now move more than two pets per family on a space available-basis only. You should contact your local transportation office to request additional spaces. The transportation office will make the request and print out a confirmation. You should take the confirmation to the passenger terminal to gain approval to move additional pets.
AMC ships pets on most charter flights as a part of the normal service to DoD passengers traveling on official orders authorizing pet shipment. This service is provided to Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Panama, Newfoundland, Azores, Guantanamo Bay, Japan, Guam and Okinawa.
Pet shipment is limited to passengers in PCS status only. Pets are defined as dogs and cats in restricted pet spaces on flights. Reservations are handled on first-come, first-served basis through the local transportation office. The passenger must provide an approved International Air Transport Association container for pet shipment which is available at the Exchange or retail stores. The passenger is also responsible and should be prepared to defray any associated costs.
Pet shipments are identified in AMC Pamphlet 24-1, "AMC Pet Traffic/Transportation Office." Passengers are authorized two pets per family. A waiver may be requested for an additional pet. For additional information on pet shipments, call your local TMO/ITO/PTO.
Import Permit for Unaccompanied Pet Shipments
For information concerning permits or shipping of unaccompanied pets contact the Frankfurt Customs/Veterinary Clearance office at 011-49-6969-69-2801.
Registering Your Pet
Make sure to register your pet with the on-base veterinarian within 14 days of arriving at Spangdahlem.
Dangerous Dog Guidelines
In April 2001, German law was passed on import of dangerous dogs for protection of the citizens. The local offices of public order (OPO) at city and county level are appointed to enforce the dangerous dog regulation.
Dangerous dogs are defined as animals either
- known to be vicious
- having indicated inclinations to attack game or livestock
- having attacked persons
- having shown unusually aggressiveness
Automatically included are Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bullterriers and other dogs descendant from one of these dogs.
These races and any dogs deriving from these races cannot be imported to Germany. Breeding, reproduction, and trade of dangerous dogs are prohibited. The responsible authority may order the dog to be neutered. Dogs may not be trained or bred to become dangerous dogs.
Permission by the local authority is required to keep a dangerous dog. The owner must justify the need to keep the dog, for example as a watch dog. Furthermore, the owner must be at least 18 years of age and personally qualified. Personal qualification requires passing an aptitude test administered by a person or office certified by the State Veterinarian Chamber. This test is only valid for 5 years and only connected to the dog that is tested together with the owner.
Certain criteria automatically disqualify persons to own dangerous dogs:
- final conviction for at least one crime committed with premeditation or twice for crimes committed while drunk within the last 5 years
- addiction to alcohol or drugs, or mental illness or impairment
- repeated violation of dangerous dog legal provisions
Dangerous dogs must be kept safely. They must be marked with an electronic chip applied by a veterinarian. The dog owner has to show proof thereof to the local authority. Furthermore, if the dog is lost or given into somebody else's custody for more than 4 weeks the owner must notify the local authority.
In public areas, including common areas in multi-family housing such as stairwells, dangerous dogs must be on a leash and wear a muzzle. Dog owners may ask for an exemption to wear a muzzle if the dog poses no danger to public security. Persons walking dogs in public must be 18 years or older and physically able to control the dog.