For a year, the hunter had repeatedly complained about the two mongrel dogs that were roaming freely in his hunting area. Leni" and "maja" are said to have killed deer and rabbits several times.
When the 53-year-old saw the dogs again in july 2018, after they had killed a rabbit, he made a momentous decision.
He drove after the dogs and shot them – when they were already on their way home. For this, the hunter was sentenced by the local court of augsburg to 4500 euros fine (90 days at 50 euros). If the ruling becomes legally binding, the man will lose his hunting license. For this is usually withdrawn with a penalty of more than 60 days’ imprisonment.
The trial came about because the jager had appealed against a criminal order. With the 55-day sentence, he had been able to keep his hunting license.
District judge roland fink made it clear in his ruling that hunters are only allowed to target dogs in very special situations. It was not enough if a dog had poached before or perhaps could go poaching again tomorrow. It is mandatory that the dog at the moment of the shot recognizably chases animals, he said.
The 53-year-old said in court that this was the case – but the judge did not believe him, partly because the hunter had given a different account of the incident during police questioning. At the time of the shooting, it was not even clear whether there was any game in the vicinity, the judge said. "They had shot the dogs because they had the opportunity"."
The two mongrels, a pair of siblings, had been taken from greece by a swabian animal welfare organization in 2016 and given to a woman in konigsbrunn near augsburg. But time and again, the adventurous four-legged friends wandered alone near the farm where the owner lived.
The jager testified in court that he had asked the owner several times to take better care of her animals. "The dogs hunt systematically," he explained. He had already threatened that he would deport "leni" and "maja" at some point.
The court also criticized the misconduct of the dog owner. Judge fink made it clear, however, that the hunter should have reacted differently. The police and the public order department had been responsible for stopping the problem of the loose dogs – but neither authority had ever received a complaint about the 38-year-old owner.
The judge also criticized the hunter for violating other hunting laws when he shot the dogs. The court ultimately found the 53-year-old guilty of damage to property, criminal animal cruelty and negligent bodily injury to the dog’s owner. Because the woman had to watch the head shot and threw up in horror.
Although the civil code now stipulates that pets are no longer to be regarded as chattels. In the criminal law sense, however, they are still considered to be objects – which is why the trial was about damage to property.