PCSing to Germany with mixed breed dog

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Posted

Hello everyone!

 

My husband and I have an opportunity to PCS to Germany in October. We have a 1.5 year old dog that we adopted from a shelter when he was 6 weeks old (therefore no one really knows what breed he is). All his paperwork says that he is a lab/cattle dog mix, but we've had many many people say that he looks "pittish" in his face (not the rest of him). We know that Pitts, Staffies, Bull Terriers and mixes are not allowed at all in Germany, but our question is how are they determining if a dog is a "dangerous dog" at customs? Has anyone recently been through this when moving to Germany and could provide input on if customs vets just look at paperwork, or if it's based on a dog's appearance?

 

We've actually called customs in Frankfurt and they provided us with the phone number of the vet who they use to determine a dog's breed. We were able to reach the "vet" yesterday and she swore up and down several times that they do not track the breed of the dog, and don't care what it is as long as they have met all the other requirements. In fact she actually said at one point "I don't care if it's a German Shepherd or a Pitbull, we don't track that". This is really contradictory to everything we've read, and we're really at a loss of who else to contact at this point since we thought customs would be the best resource. Any insight would be much appreciated!

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Posted

Many of you don't know the acronym PCS. PCS = permanent change of station.

 

Kudos for adopting a shelter mut. More kudos for your service. Enjoy you tour in Germany. I sure enjoyed mine and even brought home a German wife in 1965. We are still together.

 

cs

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Posted

Something to keep in mind:

 

 

Release No. 20130125-2S Jan. 25, 2013

 

Owners bringing pets into Germany will pay new fee starting Feb. 1

 

HEIDELBERG, Germany – Members of the U.S. forces community who bring their pets along when they arrive in Germany for assignment will be charged a fee by German authorities beginning Feb. 1.

 

The fee will be charged during arrivals at Ramstein Air Base and Frankfurt International Airport.

 

At Ramstein an examination fee of €55 per pet owner will be charged for all pets imported into Germany from outside the European Union. Kaiserslautern County officials said the fee is being levied in accordance with European Union regulations designed to prevent the introduction and dissemination of rabies.

 

Upon arrival at Ramstein, pets will be examined by veterinary officials near the passenger terminal’s baggage claim area. Owners may pay the fee by credit card only.

 

Owners arriving with their pets at Frankfurt International Airport will also pay a fee. That fee is €35 per accompanied pet or €55 for an unaccompanied pet, and increases by 50 percent for pets that arrive on a weekend or holiday.

 

Payment of the fee is the responsibility of the pet owner, and cannot be claimed for reimbursement on an official travel voucher, according to officials with the U.S. Army Europe Office of the Judge Advocate. However, while OJA experts said the fee is prohibited from reimbursement under the provisions of the DoD Joint Travel Regulations, pet owners may be able to claim the fee as a deductible moving expense on their federal income tax returns.

 

While Ramstein and Frankfurt are the only locations currently slated to begin imposing the fee Feb. 1, because it is based on EU regulation other European Union ports of entry could enact similar fees in the future.

 

 

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Posted

Soooo, they are saying that if my pet is unaccompanied (which means alone) has to pay with a credit card in my name only? I can't just pin a check to hiis/her collar? Those rules suck.I suppose I would have to put a credit card in his wallet. Cuz all dogs have wallets right?

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Posted

I have seen lots of pitbulls/pit-y-looking dogs here, and only one of them was muzzled. I think you should have very little problem, as the vet here says. You can have your vet at home state what mix she thinks it is, but if you want to have some fun, you could have your dog genotyped (DNA profiled). There are excellent tests now, where you order a kit, do a swab of your dogs mouth with a q-tip type of thing (or sometimes saliva, depending on the company). You send it back to the company, and a few weeks later have a detailed profile of your mutt's family background.

 

It can tell you the most predominant breeds in your dogs background, which can often be very surprising! One such test is the Wisdom Panel. Now, this would be complete overkill, and absolutely not necessary, but if it would give you peace of mind to have something concrete on paper to show anyone who was contesting your dog's breed-mix, it could be useful to you that way. And, it can be fun for owners to see. If you look at the company's photo gallery, you can see lots of examples of dogs who look like one breed, that really are not what you expect. The science behind the test is solid, and having a piece of paper to prove what he isn't can be useful.

 

I am a geneticist (not associated in any way with the company!), and my sister in Canada is a vet. She had a client who had a pit-ish looking dog, and the home-owners insurance wanted to charge them huge rates for having a "dangerous dog". They did the test, and were able to use the results (I think the dog was revealed to have major influences from boxer, lab, bernese mountain dog, and cocker spaniel) to successfully convince the insurance company to only charge the regular rates. If you have an extra $65 or so sitting around, might be fun.

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Posted

Thank you all for the info! The new fee is unfortunate, but after all the money we'll spend getting him over there, 35 euro (possibly reimbursed :) ) won't be a huge deal.

 

As for the Wisdom Panel, we've definitely thought about it :) It would have to be just for fun though, as the Army literature specifically states that these DNA tests can't be used to prove breed, or lack thereof, for any sort of legal issue with your dog. The fact that you see so many pittish looking dogs is really reassuring though! That combined with the vet's answer makes a feel that his current papers (shot records, etc) should be enough to avoid any trouble.

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Posted

 

Thank you all for the info! The new fee is unfortunate, but after all the money we'll spend getting him over there, 35 euro (possibly reimbursed ) won't be a huge deal.

 

As for the Wisdom Panel, we've definitely thought about it It would have to be just for fun though, as the Army literature specifically states that these DNA tests can't be used to prove breed, or lack thereof, for any sort of legal issue with your dog. The fact that you see so many pittish looking dogs is really reassuring though! That combined with the vet's answer makes a feel that his current papers (shot records, etc) should be enough to avoid any trouble.

 

I wouldn't rely too much on what this vet said. Maybe that's just what she does. What if somebody else is at duty when your dog arrives? I read in another forum about people having problems with importing dogs which are assumed to be dangerous (were withheld for weeks at the airport kennel until they finally got permission). The fact that breeds assumed dangerous are to be seen in Germany doesn't mean you can import them (as the laws discriminated between dogs already born here and immigrating dogs). Maybe it would be safer to have the DNA test done and certified by your vet, so you can check beforehand whether your doggie will be allowed to enter.

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Posted

There are several threads related to dog matters archived in TT. They are easy to trace by putting one or two key words in to the Search box (top right) and hitting the button. If few or no topic titles are listed, then using the google-powered site search button you will see brings up individual posts containing your key words.

 

Take your time browsing through the threads as you WILL find very detailed and accurate information on this theme. There are links to German and English sources included in many posts. TT has (or has had) many knowledgeable dog owners who have consistently contributed this kind of info so please take advantage of their past efforts.

 

As they have posted the info in detail there is no need for me to start googling the web to explain the overruling situation in shorthand. The issue is a matter of German State (not Federal) law and as such the rules vary by state. Some states do specify 'dangerous breeds', others do not. The levels of policy enforcement and strictness vary widely too. In the majority of states the matter is handed down to community or city level for policy to be made 'on the paw'. Rural areas with strong canine support levels are particularly disinterested in investing in enforcement.

 

The most common form of testing is not the breed barrier, but a (sometimes only triggered by complaint) 'canine behavioral test'. These are usually conducted by nominated vets and take the form of a subjective discretionary inspection.The vet gets a fee inspects the dog and considers its temperament. Depending on the result the owner may be ordered to comply with a 'maulkorbpflicht verordnung' - the dog must be muzzled in public. There was a rash of cases which attracted publicity in the late 1990 - 2006 period which triggered these laws. Once or twice a year some poor unfortunate toddler falls victim to a badly trained unsupervised dog and the whole discussion restarts for a month or so. It seems that about 90% of these cases can be seen to have happened due to the child minder having neglected their duty of care so the furore usually dies down and life goes on as before.

 

I have no doubt that, if the OP did contact one of the full time duty amtliche Tierärtz/in at Frankfurt Airport, then she can rest assured that her information was correctly given and understood. These vets are profis and do their job as a matter of daily routine and are, no doubt, used to having to reassure incomers. They are probably not always too thrilled about having to repeat the same answers to the same questions several times daily and have been known to react tersely to doubters.

 

Don't worry too much about it. Do the site research and relax. Enjoy your tour when you come.

 

2B

 

@ jeba. You are correct insofar as, just like when dealing with customs and police border officers each officer acts in a discretionary manner and, depending on their mood, personal experience and the attitude of their 'client' results may vary. However I would not paint a blanket negative picture just because of a handful of unhappy cases in a forum.

 

The vast majority of people who are satisfied in such circumstances never join in a forum discussion just to say they had not encountered any problem. The same applies to many themes in TT (landlord/shopping/telephone7bus & bahn) issues appear to be disproportionally negative which does not reflect the reality of the majority experience.

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Posted

 

The fact that breeds assumed dangerous are to be seen in Germany doesn't mean you can import them (as the laws discriminated between dogs already born here and immigrating dogs). Maybe it would be safer to have the DNA test done and certified by your vet, so you can check beforehand whether your doggie will be allowed to enter.

You're right, I did forget about the dogs that were grandfathered in. Although I was under the impression that all these dogs still had to wear muzzles in public, so it's somewhat reassuring to read that not all pittish looking dogs have muzzles on. As for the DNA test, they're not able to legally be used as proof of breed for the Army's purposes, signed by a vet or not. I don't think they're considered accurate enough (not arguing one way or the other on this, just stating what is believed policy-wise).

 

2B-Thanks for your post! I did search through here for pit bull related posts; I'll have to try other searches. I found this forum on google a while ago and have found it really helpful! As far as differing laws by state, everything I've found seems to have the category II dogs varying by state, but category I dogs seem to be the same country-wide, and if they're not even allowed to be imported into the country, it led me to believe that category I was federal policy.

 

Also, I should note that we also asked our Military vet about the policies before calling customs (several people PCS to Germany from here each year), and he made us panic slightly when he told us that they could put the dog to sleep immediately if they thought it was a "dangerous dog"--hence our extreme surprise at the vet's answer.

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Posted

I seriously doubt that customs officials will examine your dog all that closely. When I flew my dog into Frankfurt International Airport back in 2008, the dog was delivered into the baggage claim area by four male baggage personnel. As far as I know, no one in any official capacity even looked at him. I handcarried his vet records, shot records, USDA record...and no one examined the dog or inquired about the paperwork. My dog never submitted a DNA sample to anyone for any reason. I took the dog to a friend's house near Stuttgart and there he stayed for 3 weeks until our official PCS. When I flew my cat into Frankfurt International Airport a few weeks later, no one looked at her paperwork either. No one even verified there was actually a cat in the little cage I was carrying.

 

But I would recommend that you use zip ties to secure your dog's carrier after the dog passes inspection at the departure airport (put scissors in your checked baggage). Don't worry about the inspection, the dog will be passed through an x-ray machine to ensure that the carrier and/or the dog are not carrying drugs. You don't want the carrier to jiggle open during flight or during transport on the flight line.

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