GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — So, you are getting ready to PCS to Germany, and you’re scared, excited, nervous or all of the above. You’ve already gathered your family’s information, but what about your pets?
This can add more stress to an already stressful situation. Below is a list of several resources that will make traveling with your pet a little less stressful.
First, let’s talk about paperwork. If you don’t remember anything else during your travels, be sure to remember to save and keep every bit of military-related paperwork with you.
One of the first things you should know as a pet owner about PCSing to Germany is the country’s breed restrictions. Germany has specific laws that prohibit some dogs from the region.
Dog Breeds Restricted in Bavaria
The state of Bavaria enacted a law in 2002 classifying dog breeds into two categories and restricting specific breeds deemed dangerous. Class 1 dogs — both pure and cross breeds — are not allowed in Bavaria. These dogs have been shown to react aggressively with little provocation and have been traditionally used as fighting dogs, based on studies evaluated by the Bavarian government. Owners must provide proof of pedigree.
The following breeds, and mixes with these breeds, are not authorized in Bavaria:
In Bavaria, class 2 breeds, as well as their crossbreeds, are also presumed to be dangerous and aggressive. Owners must provide proof the animal does not possess tendency for heightened aggression. Typically, these dogs are required to pass a temperament test with a licensed provider and then registered with the host nation safety and public order office. Tests can cost up to several hundred euro, and dogs must be at least nine months old to be eligible, according to USAG Ansbach. Dogs that fail the mandatory test are treated with the same legal provisions as class 1 breeds and are illegal in Bavaria.
NOTE: Owners of temperament-approved class 2 dogs are required by German mandate to keep the pet muzzled and on a leash in public areas. Additionally, the dog walker must be least 18 years old and physically capable of controlling the dog. Only one class 2 pet can be walked at a time.
Be sure to have all required paperwork completed when entering the country. Providing pedigree and being prepared is the owner’s responsibility. For more information regarding breed restrictions and requirements for dangerous breeds while in Germany, visit Military Installations pet shipping guidelines.
Whether a service animal or emotional support animal, breed restrictions still apply. Additionally, it doesn’t matter what breed is listed on the medical records. This depends on the animal’s appearance and pedigree. This is a German law, and is enforced by German authorities.
Class 1 breeds (or class 2 breeds that fail a temperament test) are subject to confiscation, confinement at the owner’s expense and more. Do not try to sneak a banned breed into Germany.
Now that we’ve covered breed restrictions, here is a list of the things you’ll need to travel with a pet.
Required Documents to PCS with a Pet to Germany
This is a starter list, compiled with the help of the USAG Bavaria Vet Clinic and U.S. European Command Customs and Border Clearance Agency. Every pet and family situation is different, however, so it’s important to contact your local veterinarian and transportation office for assistance in assembling all the appropriate paperwork. To view more information about specific pet immigration requirements, visit the DoD’s personal property consignment instruction guide.
If your pet does not have an ISO compliant microchip, you will need to:
If you are PCSing from a country other than the U.S., there may be additional requirements, which you can find on the USDA APHIS Pet Travel website.
Now it’s time to travel, but pet owners should note that there is a two-pet limit documented on PCS orders for Germany. More pets require an exception to policy memo, regardless of whether you live on or off post, or in military or private housing.
Traveling on Patriot Express
Air Mobility Command authorizes families traveling on PCS moves to transport pets on DoD-sponsored airlines, such as Patriot Express, according to AMC’s pet brochure guide. Pet space is very limited on Patriot Express flights and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Pet shipments will be in conjunction with PCS moves only IAW DoDI 4515.13. Pets normally travel in the aircraft baggage hold area but may be accepted for shipment in the cabin area if they meet the requirements.
To book your pet’s space, contact your local transportation office, or TO, as early as possible. In general, families are usually limited to two pets. Owners with more than two pets must notify the TO at least 15 days prior to the flight to reserve any possible additional space. Owners must also accompany pets on any AMC flights and pay the transport fees.
Single-pet travel rates (includes weight of pet and container):
Pet owners must also pay a 55 euro fee to the German Government upon claiming your pet and processing through customs.
Traveling on Commercial Flights
If pet slots are not available on Patriot Express, your pet may need to travel commercially. Several airline companies will ship pets for military families, including Lufthansa, American, Delta, Alaska and Hawaii Cargo. For the complete list of pet carriers, go here.
Typically, prices can range from $400 – 2,000, depending on the airline, pet size and weight, and location. Be sure to check with specific airlines for their rates and requirements.
Standard Pet Container Kennel Requirements
The International Air Transport Association, or IATA, lays out some basic requirements for travel pet carriers, but every airline maintains different standards. In general, a flight-ready pet carrier must:
It is very important to keep in mind ever airline is different, it is recommended to check with the airline or AMC officials for exact requirements. There are also occasional seasonal restrictions for certain aircraft or airlines. Also, the American Veterinary Medical Association does not recommend sedating or medicating your animal prior to the flight.
Your pet is finally here
When you land, head to the cargo location to pick up your pet. In most circumstances, your pet will be quarantined until a veterinarian can perform a quick examination and release them. You may also have to pay around €200 in international import fees. You will need a valid government-issued photo ID to pick up your pet.
Once your pet arrives in country, you will have 14 days to register them with your on-post Vet Clinic. This is required even if you use off-post veterinary care. If you are issued government-leased or on-post housing, you will also have to show proof of registration at the on-post Vet Clinic and notify the Housing Office of any pets.
Happy travels to you and your pet!