Germans, on the whole, love and respect pets and are friendly towards dogs. Keeping a pet on a leash is a must apart from inside special pens in some open spaces along the Rhine. 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.
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. 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. Payment is normally every three months. Fees vary according to the number of dogs and rise notably if a dangerous breed is registered.
Dogs need to be registered within two weeks of arrival. The citizens office (Bürgeramt) issues the relevant forms which need to be completed and submitted together with proof of residency. A passport (Reisepass) or ID (Personalausweis) will also be required.