Will cats have to be registered and neutered in Ludwigsburg soon?

Ludwigsburg. The green faction of the Municipal Council has submitted a request to the city administration for the passage of the Cat Protection Act. Then all free-roaming cats must be registered and neutered. City councilors say the reason for the enforcement is a sharp increase in the shelter’s attempts to put wild-caught cats outdoors. The app says: “Animal Shelter President Ursula Gerek has confirmed that the Cat Protection Regulation will ease the suffering of cats.”

In a conversation with her, it soon turns out that this topic is very important for her. “There should be a regulation to protect cats—definitely,” she says. “You just never let an unsterilized cat outside,” she says. But the reality looks different. Many of the cats that end up at the shelter are not neutered – nor are they registered, so the staff there don’t know who the owner is. This poses problems for the animal shelter: you cannot immediately put the animal in because it may be looking for an owner. According to Gericke, someone picks up a cat from an animal shelter only in about two out of ten cases.

Some shelter operations cost up to 3,000 euros

If the animal is sick or injured, the shelter will also cover the cost of the surgery. If the owner is not informed, these costs are left at the animal shelter, sometimes 3,000 euros for the operation. It may happen that the owner reports only after the operation and then refuses to pay the costs. “Some say they don’t want their cat like this anymore,” Gericke reports. It is also not uncommon for a cat to be in an animal shelter for several months, then be spayed, registered and posted for adoption by its new owners, and then previous owners call because they saw the animal in the newspaper or on the Internet. For Ursula Gerek, this is unimaginable: “As the owner, you have a duty to search for the animal.”

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According to Gericke, the cat protection regulation will not only make the work of an animal shelter easier, but also that of animal clinics, doctors and the veterinary office. Using a chip reader, they can easily locate the owner.

The animal shelter wants an organization to protect cats at the district level

The Municipal Cat Protection Act gives the opportunity to control the cat population and thus provide preventative protection for the animals, says State Animal Welfare Commissioner Julia Stobenbord. When the regulation goes into effect, cats must be neutered. To be able to track castration, each animal must be identified and recorded, for example by chip.

“Actually, a district-wide cat protection law would make sense,” Ursula Gerek says. Because especially in rural areas there are a lot of neglected cats that do not have owners. But it is up to each municipality to issue the order. So far, such regulations have only existed in Ditzingen, where the municipal council passed a law to protect cats last summer. In 2019, Berglen in the district of Rems-Murr was the first municipality in the state of Baden-Württemberg to regulate the identification and castration of free-roaming cats in its own law.

Kristen Knaus learned this could happen from a colleague in Detzinger from the county council. “Since no one in Ludwigsburg had touched upon this subject before, I did,” said the Green City Council member. She and her fellow parliamentary group members are not concerned with over-regulating cat owners. “It’s about animal welfare,” she says.

In 2021, the animal shelter took in 70 cats from Ludwigsburg

According to the Animal Welfare Act, the prerequisite for the issuance of the Cat Protection Act is the problem of cats corresponding to the free-living cats in the municipality, which means that there are many free-living cats and the associated diseases. The animal shelter received 70 cats from Ludwigsburg in 2021, 51 of which were not neutered, and 18 with various diseases. Fungi, dental problems, tumors, accidental injuries – the list of animal diseases is long. Ursula Gerek explains that feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in particular is causing problems. Like HIV, it is spread through sexual contact. Castration of a cat costs an animal shelter 93.94 euros, a cat 53.46 euros. In total, the animal shelter received 296 cats last year, and the total cost, including care and veterinary costs, was 187356.70 euros.

The basic requirements of Ludwigsburg’s Cat Protection Ordinance were made, according to the District Veterinary Office when asked by the Greens. But this does not mean that all cats in Ludwigsburg will soon have to have a microchip, registered and fertilized. The city administration must now first process the greens’ request, after which the matter reaches the municipal council, which then decides whether to pass a cat protection law.

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