Dogs are not "things"

Ein Förster is then also entitled to payment of the veterinary costs by the state Hesse, if his service dog is injured during a patrol rather than while hunting. The Administrative Court of Wiesbaden decided this with finality.

Oliver Bock

Correspondent for the Rhein-Main-Zeitung for the Rheingau-Taunus district and for Wiesbaden.

The forest officer from the Rheingau-Taunus district was on a patrol with his dog when he broke his leash and was grazed by a train on the nearby railway tracks. The dog suffered injuries to its tail, the treatment of which resulted in costs of around 2,000 euros.

Claim for damages under official law

The forester wanted the money reimbursed by his employer and finally went to the administrative court. Its third chamber allowed the action because the requirements for a claim for damages under civil service law were met. Although animals are not legally “things”, the rules applicable to objects are certainly applicable.

The injury of the dog is a result of the performance of the service. The control of the vegetation along railway lines is one of the official duties of the forester. The hunting dog accompanies the plaintiff on his territory walks and not only on the hunt because he needs to exercise. It is "unimportant" that the hunting dog was not "on duty" at the time of the accident, i.e. not used for hunting. The dog is not needed for patrols on the railway line. However, the claim for damages is not based on the fact that the dog was used for official purposes.

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