Skilfully trained pet dogs have been trained to detect vegetation on buildings to prevent small mammals from infiltrating.
From Monday, offenders caught with vegetation in their yards are to be hit with a €1,000 (£860) fine in Leipzig, the Rhein-Neckar state capital.
Tens of thousands of trees have already been removed to make way for new high-rise buildings in the city, with many left in broken state or rotten.
An apartment block in Leipzig. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images
Construction workers who over-plant or illegally remove trees can expect to receive the same punishment.
The “green check” initiative is aimed at finding a solution to the ongoing problem of construction workers ignoring hygiene standards – with leeches and infestations of lice emerging as the latest culprits – and allowing any number of small mammals to enter their homes.
“Small mammals are now common on some buildings in Leipzig,” Eberhard Alberts of the city’s urban conservation board said. “So we decided that, by removing some trees and replacing them with smaller ones, a clear and visible basis for inspection would be established.”
Skilfully trained German shepherd dogs have been trained to detect vegetation in builders’ yards. Photograph: Ralf Drokha/Getty Images
The dogs have been trained to detect a different kind of plant each day. The dogs have been trained to sniff out field mushrooms, plants that may grow on buildings and beets to protect the work site from soil contamination.
The check – which is being monitored and authorised by the German environment minister, Svenja Schulze – requires builders to first get clearance from a business that the building site is next to. The proposed changes allow fines of up to €10,000.