Legal information about the dog

Legal issues around the dog

Most dog owners argue in various situations about the legal basis for dogs. This is supposed to create a little clarity.

According to § 90a BGB we clarify that animals are not objects, but the regulations that apply to objects are applied. So every dog ​​is still treated like every other object of purchase. The same rules apply as when buying a car. Therefore, there are also special features when buying a dog and its purchase contract that should be considered.

So the term material defect in relation to dogs is regulated in § 434 BGB as follows:
"The thing is free from material defects if it has the agreed quality at the transfer of risk. Insofar as the condition has not been agreed, the item is free of material defects if it is suitable for normal use and has a condition which is common for items of the same type and which the buyer can expect depending on the type of item. "

As a rule, nothing is regulated about the nature of the dog. The dog is therefore free from defects if you get the dog as you imagine it – healthy. What is new, however, is that the seller is also responsible for minor damage. Many breeders advertise their dogs in club and other breeding magazines, the breeder has to vouch for the advertised properties in these.

If there is a "material defect", the buyer has the right of subsequent performance. This regulation is of course less suitable for dogs. Only the cure of a disease is provided here – provided that it has already been recognized in puppies and is curable at all. If subsequent performance is not possible, the buyer has the right to a reduction or even withdrawal from the purchase contract. If the dog is reduced, the purchase price will be reduced. In the event of withdrawal, the buyer can withdraw from the contract and claim damages. However, if you return your dog after weeks … in the case of minor defects, withdrawal from the purchase contract is excluded.

All of the above claims expire within two years. However, if the seller maliciously conceals a defect, the rule applies for three years. The limitation period begins when the dog is taken over. In principle, however, the buyer must be able to prove that the lack of the dog already existed at the time of purchase, which proves to be difficult, especially in the case of health defects.

In any case, it is advisable to conclude a written purchase contract. Verbal sales contracts are also legally binding when buying animals. Just like you used to do when buying a horse with the Handshake knows this also applies to dogs.

There is also often confusion in tenancy law. Keeping dogs in a rented apartment is not regulated in the legal text. The home owner and the landlord alone decide. This is regulated in the respective lease. However, if the owner of the apartment prohibits keeping dogs, you are bound as a tenant – one entry applies to guide dogs. However, if the livestock clause is missing in the rental agreement, the legal situation is controversial. Here the landlord is asked, who should be asked for permission in any case. What you should know is that the tenant does not violate the animal husbandry ban if visitors bring animals into the apartment every hour. The rest periods applicable in the rental contract must of course be observed. The tenant must also ensure that other tenants are not disturbed. However, if these are disturbed by dog ​​ownership, they can enforce rent reductions. The impaired tenant can request the landlord to rectify the disruption, but this is not legally as easy to implement as is often claimed. If the tenant buys a dog without having agreed on this, the landlord can sue for the omission of this animal husbandry. In extreme cases, the landlord is entitled to terminate the tenancy without notice after an unsuccessful warning.

The general animal owner liability is regulated in § 833 BGB. Animal keeper is someone who pays for the animal’s costs and benefits from the animal. A dog is liable e.g. even if it has escaped and causes damage. The injured party can also claim compensation for pain and suffering which must then be borne. When dogs are encountered, which do not go off lightly, it is often hotly debated who has to pay for the damage. The insurance companies regulate this in a 50:50 ratio. An exception is when one of the dogs was on a leash – the sole responsibility of the dog owner whose dog was not on a leash. Negligent bodily harm then comes into force if a dog attacks or even bites a person. This can be the case even if a dog only jumps on a person.

The general public regulations for dogs are also an important issue. So what happens if he is free running in the forest or even poaching? There are no regulations under federal law that expressly require dogs to be leashed. It is therefore up to the federal states and varies from state to state whether a dog is allowed to run free or not. However, there is a nature conservation law that prohibits willfully harassing, catching or even injuring wild animals.

The federal hunting law § 23 states:
"Hunting protection includes the protection of game, in particular from poaching dogs and cats, as well as the care for compliance with the regulations issued to protect game and hunting.

Poaching is understood to mean tearing, injuring and killing wild animals, among other things. Rabbits, foxes, deer, deer and hares. Already rushing and hunting for a wild animal can be seen as poaching and can have corresponding consequences. All in all, poaching is provided that the dog is out of sight and sight of the owner. The hunter is therefore entitled to record the dog owner’s personal details or to notify the police if a poaching dog is suspected. The final consequence is the killing of the poaching dog. Especially for dogs that have become noticeable several times by rushing game. Of course, the hunter may not shoot a dog on mere suspicion, not twice, if the dog is within earshot and sight of the owner. Even if the dog is removed for a short time, but the dog responds immediately to a recall, no shooting is permitted. This also applies if the dog has gotten lost and no game is found. It often happens that the dog gets lost without looking for game. Overall, the killing is only permitted if no other means were available. Exceptions are again here according to Art. 42 BayJG: hunting, service, blind or shepherd dogs insofar as they have been identified as such and are managed as such. If a hunter shoots a dog that poses no danger to game, he commits a crime. It is imperative to secure evidence of this and to look for witnesses to get justice in court.

Especially in Bavaria there is no leash obligation in the forest – not even for hunting dogs. However, there are fines if you let your dog run free in a hunting area without supervision. It should also be said in passing that for the sake of the game you should not let a dog run freely that is not available. Every dog, no matter how well behaved, can sometimes go after a game, but this should never be the rule. If you don’t have your dog under control and let it run free in wild areas, I think it’s grossly negligent.

In cities there are of course also regulations that concern the dog. Many cities prohibit the keeping of so-called "fighting dogs" and require a general leash. In general, this city ordinance stipulates that dogs must keep away from streets, cyclists and pedestrians and must be kept on a short leash. In parks, this is often regulated by signs at the entrance. In many parks, dogs are allowed to run free and are therefore exempt from the city’s leash requirement. For example, dogs leashed in Munich at all public places such as kindergartens, pedestrian zones, in elevators or festivals and in public buildings. All dogs that are on the breed list I must be kept on a short leash everywhere – even in the parks.

Dogs are allowed to run free in various parks in Munich, e.g. in the English Garden, in the Allacher Forst dog run area, in Solln, in the Fürstenrieder Forest or in the Hirschgarten. The deer garden is even a specially created dog area. However, leashes must be kept in the Westpark and in the Nymphenburger Park. You can find out more on the Internet and on the boards of the individual parks. Basically you have to say Munich is a city for dogs and generally very dog-friendly.

If you go to a veterinarian with your dog, which can hardly be avoided over the years, there are things to consider. The veterinarian is always liable and liable for damages. This comes into force if the veterinarian has not properly informed the dog owner. He is also liable for damages if he makes a mistake in the treatment. However, this is not the case in acute emergencies. Of course, a veterinarian also has a duty to inform. This is understood to be the education about all existing side effects of a treatment. The veterinarian must explain the duration, side effects, late effects and of course the cost of the treatment. An example of a treatment error is the excessive administration of anesthetic, which leads to the death of the dog. In such a case, the veterinarian is liable, but the burden of proof lies with the dog owner, which in practice usually proves to be difficult.


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Christina Cherry
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