Although animals are living creatures, legally speaking they are considered “things” for the German juridiction. If an animal has a defect, the buyer is entitled to a certain warranty.
A distinction is made between two conditions of defects:
If there is no agreement on the condition, the animal is defective if:
- the animal is not suitable for the use provided for in the contract,
- the animal is not fit for normal use, or
- it is not in the condition in which the same animal is normally and which a buyer expects.
Living beings are individually different and naturally deviate from the ideal form, which is why these legal norms are basically difficult to apply. In most cases it is therefore advisable to consult an animal rights lawyer, who can assess your chances of success and risks. Attorney-at-law, Ms. Julia Ziegeler
Examples of justified deficiencies in animals:
Burden of proof
In a traditional sales contract, the buyer must prove that the defect existed at the time the animal was handed over in order to claim for warranty.
The consumer sales contract differs in that it “reverses the burden of proof”. In the case of a defect occurring within the first six months, it is presumed that the goods – in this case, the animal – were already defective at the time of delivery. The seller must prove the contrary.
The focus of the matter of animals is however that the reversal of the burden of proof is excluded if it is incompatible with the nature of the matter or the defect. The behaviour of an animals can be dependent on how humans treat them. Changes in character also occur through keeping animals that are not appropriate for the species. If the deficiency is not based on a disease but on the behaviour of the animal, the reversal of the burden of proof can possibly be excluded.
For an infectious disease, the duration of the incubation period is measured. If the calculated time of infection is after the purchase, the buyer has no warranty rights.>> for more information on animal´s liability