Legal responsibilities of becoming a dog owner

If the dog owner walks an aggressive dog without a leash, he or she is legally responsible for the danger it creates. (iStock Photo)
If the dog owner walks an aggressive dog without a leash, he or she is legally responsible for the danger it creates. (iStock Photo)

The number of dog owners in big cities is growing, but adopting a dog also brings responsibilities both for the dog and others around us

More and more people are adopting dogs and bringing them to their home and family to live together. In metropolises, this rate is quite high. In fact, there are various problems between neighbors about pets that are fed in building complexes and apartments. Recent reports of violence against animals or attacks by adopted dogs are also on the agenda.

What should be considered in terms of the problems experienced while walking dogs in building complexes?

To answer this question, Daily Sabah spoke to counselor Cafer Tanrıkulu about the legal aspects of the matter. Tanrıkulu said the rules for pet feeding and walking in building complexes are determined by the management according to the management plan, adding that these rules must be in harmony with the common living spaces as well as the rights and freedoms of others.

Pointing out that in a case of disagreement, the matter is handled by the building administration and courts within the framework of the management plan and relevant legislation, Tanrıkulu said Article 737 of the Civil Code that regulates the neighborhood law is important in this context."In the event of danger and harm caused by domestic animals, the persons concerned or the building management has the right to settle by court. You need a court warrant in order to throw the pet from the house or the building complex," he added.

Dog owners have a lot of problems when walking their dogs. For example, a dog can attack a person, or your dog can attack another dog."So, who is responsible legally and what kind of penalties are given or should be given?" we ask Tanrıkulu.

He said pets are legally considered to be "property," and that the owner is also responsible for the damage caused by the property. "For example, a person who injures another person with a vehicle and a person whose dog has bitten a neighbor share the same responsibility."

Letting a dog off their leash while walking in building complexes, parks and streets, or letting a dog relieving itself in public places without picking it up is also among the common problems. So, is there a legal sanction if the dog owner does not do what is necessary?

"There is a legal sanction," Tanrıkulu noted. "In the case of environmental pollution [not picking up waste], the person responsible can be given a fine since it is a misdemeanor in the framework of the law."

He also stressed that in the case of walking an aggressive dog without a leash, the dog owner will be legally responsible for the danger the dog creates, suggesting that regarding these crimes, both the complaint and the direct prosecution and proceedings can be applied.With regard to what needs to be done by pet owners in terms of pet ownership manners in apartments and building complexes, Tanrıkulu said first of all, pet owners must be careful of their pets to not cause any harm, adding that to avoid polluting the environment, making any noise and to respect the neighboring rights stated in article 737 of the Turkish Civil Code are the obligations of pet owners. "It is free to walk the animals in areas outside private property," he added.Oğuzer Yiğit has owned a dog named Zeze for seven years. Zeze is the only dog in the apartment. As a conscious dog owner, Yiğit said he does not have a problem with his neighbors, noting that there are many dogs in the area where he walks his dog and that he lets his dog off leash, taking into account the other dogs around.

He also pays attention as to whether or not there are people around who are afraid of dogs while walking his dog. Sharing a memory about irresponsible dog owners, Yiğit said, "There was this dog owner bringing his dog without a leash to the park where I walked my dog. That dog once attacked my dog. I gave the owner a leash and told him it was not right to walk his dog without a leash. As a matter of fact, there are no aggressive dogs but aggressive dog owners."Yiğit also has some suggestions and warnings for dog owners. "A person who wants to adopt a dog must be trained. If necessary, an examination should be made and supervised. In this way society feels comfortable, and shelters are not filled with abandoned dogs," Yiğit continued. "Most importantly, dogs should not be bought, they must be adopted from shelters. Those who want to walk their dog without a leash should choose the appropriate areas."

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