Passers-by who discover a suffering animal in a hot car must first try to locate the owner.
– If this is not possible, you must call the police or fire department.
– Only if the rescue forces would not arrive in time before the death of the animal, one may break the window to save the animal.
Unfortunately it happens again and again
The Hamburg fire department recently had to be called out because a dog was locked in a car when the outside temperature was 25 degrees and the sun was shining. After the rescuers could neither reach the owner nor open the car with a wire, they smashed the rear window to free the dog.
At 20 degrees, temperatures inside the car can become life-threatening in less than an hour. At temperatures above 30 degrees this is already the case after 10 minutes.
Such cases do not always end so smoothly: Regularly, unfortunately, in the headlines you can read that animals do not survive waiting in a hot car. For animal lovers, the following questions then frequently arise.
– Is it allowed to break the car window to free the animals??
– When to be on the safe side legally when rescuing an animal?
– What is the best way to proceed during the rescue??
– What is the penalty for dog owners?
– Who pays for the deployment of police and fire department?
Is it allowed to break the car window to free the animals?
If passers-by become aware of an animal suffering from the heat in the car, the first impulse is usually to break the window to free the animal. If certain conditions are met, this is also permitted.
If the animal is in acute danger of death, the animal rescuer does not have to fear any legal consequences. In this case, there is no question of a fine for deliberate damage to property, nor is it necessary to compensate for the damage to the car. But the breaking of the window must be appropriate. You must not strike out immediately, but rather z. B. Look around to see if the driver is anywhere nearby and call the police. Only if the danger for the dog is so great that it would die while waiting, the window may be broken by the passer-by.
When is one legally on the safe side when rescuing animals??
Although it is generally permissible to break a car window to save an animal from imminent heat death, there are a few things to keep in mind to be on the safe side legally. Before breaking the window, you have to look around in any case and make sure that the driver can not be found in a hurry.
If the vehicle is stationary z. B. Directly in front of a store or house entrance, you have to ask at least briefly if the driver of the car is there. Depending on the condition of the animal, you may also be required to conduct a brief search for the driver in the immediate vicinity. If the person cannot be found or time is short, the police should be notified.
If you can't wait for them to arrive, because the dog is already obviously in acute danger, you can break the car window. In this case, however, you should – if available – involve other passers-by as witnesses and choose a side window to keep the damage as low as possible.
What is the best way to proceed with the rescue??
Anyone who discovers a dog left in a hot car in high temperatures should follow the following order when rescuing the animal so that the rescue operation does not result in legal consequences:
1. Locate animal owner
Before any further action, look for the animal's owner or the driver. The driver of the car should be sought. The intensity of the search depends on the individual case and the general condition of the animal.
2. Call the police or fire department
The police appear on the scene after the emergency call and try to determine the owner of the vehicle and reach him. If this does not succeed or time is pressing to avert the danger to the dog, the police can also force open the vehicle to free the dog.
3. Involve witnesses and if necessary. Take photos and films
If the case goes to court, it is necessary to prove that it was an emergency situation that required the immediate rescue of the animal.
4. Break the window
If the dog's condition is so critical that it is no longer possible to wait for the police to arrive, the window may be broken. Typical signs of heatstroke in dogs are heavy panting, vomiting, diarrhea, apathy, staggering or cramps.
5. Cool animal and call animal rescue
After extrication, offer the animal water – but it should not be ice cold – and notify animal rescue if the dog is already unconscious. Until the arrival of the animal rescue, the animal should be kept in the lateral position and cooled (z. B. With wet towels).
Which punishment threatens the dog owners?
Pet owners who leave their dog waiting in the car during the summer are not only acting irresponsibly, but also face serious consequences:
Violation of the animal protection dog regulation
Letting dogs wait in the car on warm days is a violation of the Animal Protection Dog Ordinance (TierSchHuV). According to § 8 TierSchHuV, dog owners must provide sufficient fresh air and appropriate air temperatures if the dog is to wait unattended in the car. At summer temperatures. Bright sunshine this is impossible. Consequently one may not let dogs wait in the car – if one does it nevertheless, one must answer for the offense of the cruelty to animals.
Consequences under the Animal Welfare Act
The consequences of animal cruelty are standardized in the Animal Protection Act (TierSchG). According to this, both a criminal offense (§ 17 TierSchG) and a misdemeanor (§ 18 TierSchG) can be considered. The decisive factor is whether the dog is left in the vehicle intentionally (i.E. With full intent) or "only" negligently (i.E. Out of sheer ignorance or underestimation of the sun's rays).
If classified as a criminal offense, the offender faces a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine depending on his income. In the case of the negligent cruelty to animals a fine of up to 25 € threatens for the offence.000 Euro. In both cases, a ban on keeping animals can be imposed according to § 20 TierSchG, which is either limited to a certain period of time or is valid for life.
What do the courts say?
In many cases, courts classify keeping dogs waiting as negligent cruelty to animals because the owner does not usually act maliciously to deliberately cause the animal to suffer. This was also the decision of the Bavarian Supreme Court in a case in which the owner left his dog waiting in the car at an outside temperature of 30 degrees (BayObLG, decision v. 12.12.1995, Az.: 3 ObOWi 118/959).
However, the decision cannot be generalized, because each court decides differently and appreciates the respective individual case. For this reason, there are also courts that do not accept the owner's frequent excuse that he did not want this to happen. Just by the large mediale operational readiness level of the topic and recurring reports over agonizingly dead dogs, whose owners "only briefly" wanted to buy or what settle, the danger should be sufficiently well-known to each dog owner.
Particularly clearly this shows the report over an ungnädige judge at the local court (AG) Neustadt, which is to have sentenced a tax official in February 2007 to a one-year imprisonment without probation and to have pronounced a lifelong prohibition of keeping animals. The man had kept his Dalmatian dog waiting for more than two hours in 30-plus degree weather.
Who pays for the deployment of police and fire department?
The costs for the deployment of police and/or fire department must regularly be borne by the animal owner. According to a decision of the Higher Administrative Court (OVG) of Rhineland-Palatinate, there is no justification whatsoever for imposing the personnel and material costs for such operations on the general public, because the operation is made necessary solely by the irresponsible behavior of the dog owner (OVG of Rhineland-Palatinate, decision v.