Germans, on the whole, love and respect pets and in most areas of Düsseldorf people are friendly towards dogs. Keeping a pet on a leash is a must apart from inside special pens placed across the town and in most natural open spaces along the Rhine. That goes for dogs above 40cm in height or 20kg weight.
Surprisingly for some, dogs are also allowed on public transport and inside restaurants unless otherwise stated.
Within the European Union, pets may move freely if they have been micro chipped, had the necessary vaccine against rabies and their owners possess a valid EU pet passport. When taking up residency in Düsseldorf, pets, normally cats or dogs will need to be registered.
Dog ownership is highly regulated and heavily taxed through a compulsory licence fee, which has to be paid for all dogs regardless to their race or size. Cats remain a matter of citizen’s privacy.
Registration is possible in person at the municipal tax office (Steueramt) or at one of the citizen offices (Bürgerbüro), by phone, in writing or online and is quite simple. Just submit personal details and inform about the dog, ownership, dates and so on.
The municipal tax office will send a dog tag, which when attached to the dog collar demonstrates to the authorities during spot checks that the dog is registered. A bill showing the amount that has to be paid every three months will also be sent. Fees vary according to the number of dogs and rise notably if a dangerous breed is registered.