Official Veterinarian v Unidentified Defendants (2013) H&FLR 2014-21

Augsburg District Court

c. 9 January 2013

Coram: Wieser M.

Appearing for the Prosecutor: Not known

Appearing for the Defendants: Not known

Catchwords: Germany – Bavaria – criminal law – dog – overfeeding – obesity – cruelty to animals

Facts: The defendants were a couple aged 69 and 71 years.  In October 2010 they came into possession of a Pekinese dog.  It was alleged that they overfed her such that her weight increased to 22 kilograms (48.4 pounds).  The standard weight of a Pekinese is around 6 kilograms (13.2 pounds).  Advice from a veterinarian as to proper feeding had been rejected.

In April 2012 the dog’s condition was reported to authorities by one of their neighbours.  The dog was found to be suffering two torn cruciate ligaments, extreme shortness of breath and had an inaudible heartbeat.  The animal was unable to walk and instead moved by dragging itself.  Destruction of the animal was recommended*.  The owners were charged with breaches of the Animal Welfare Act.  They responded that the dog was overweight when they acquired it and in particular denied feeding it chocolate.

Held: The charges were upheld.  A penalty of several thousand Euros was imposed and the offenders were ordered to perform 80 hours of community service**.


No written judgment is available.  The report was compiled based on reports in the Augsburger Allgemeine on 3 August 2012 and 9 January 2013, the Welt of 8 January 2013, the Süddeutsche Zeitung of 24 August 2012 and the Sächsischen Zeitung of 2 August 2012.  Translations by Google.


* The dog was ultimately given to another owner and at last report weighed 12 kilograms.

** An appeal against the penalty was abandoned.