Animals: Animal rights activists and authorities: castration of strays is important

the animals
Animal rights activists and authorities: Castration of stray animals is important

Cages for cats on a shelf belonging to the Animal Welfare Association in Erfurt. Photo: Minya Mersini / dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

It’s not easy for cats who live freely. Illness and lack of food bother them. Regulatory agencies and animal welfare organizations assist. As well as the land sits with the boat. but how?

In the past two years, the state of Thuringia has spent about 330,000 euros on neutering feral and free-living cats. This stems from the response of the Thuringian Ministry of Health to a small request from AfD member of parliament Nadine Hoffmann. The fact that the funds are exhausted shows that there is a need. According to the ministry, 150,000 euros are again available for castration this year.

Since 2013, according to the Thuringian Animal Welfare Act, administrative districts and metropolitan areas have been able to enforce castration and registration obligations for cats in certain areas. In the independent cities of Erfurt, Weimar and Gera and in parts of the Altenburger Land, Eichsfeld, Göta and Nordhausen regions, this option was used. From the point of view of the Ministry, it is not necessary to have regulation at the state level, “because the problem occurs to different degrees in different regions.” Only when there is a provable problem are regulations required.

It is unclear how many of these homeless cats live in Thuringia. The Animal Welfare Association of Erfurt assumes that there are about 5,000 stray animals in the state capital, Erfurt alone. The problem: If many “stray animals” live in one place, the animals often develop leukemia, cat flu, eye and kidney disease. Or, according to experts, parasites attack them, infect themselves, suffer shock or young animals die early.

“The only thing you can do for them is to control this senseless breeding. We don’t want a clean city,” said Petra Dunkler, head of Animal Welfare in Erfurt. Not having a cat in Erfurt is not the goal, for God’s sake.” It is about good living conditions for these animals. Cats are neutered under anesthesia and only by professionals.

But castrations cost money. Animal welfare societies, such as those in Erfurt, can apply for government funding from a resident vet for this procedure. Anyone who sees a stray cat can contact the clubs and take care of it there.

Sometimes the animals are brought directly into the practice by their discoverer. But this does not happen without a thorough examination in advance. Permission is required. One or the other, Dunkler said, had already tried to treat his animal and cut it up for free under the guise of a bastard cat.

Most cats are released back to where they were found after they have been spayed and microchipped. Because the shelter does not keep stray cats. Problem cases, such as infected cats, often come to Helga König in southeast Erfurt. The 81-year-old has been observing the feral cat for decades. She is currently preparing several “street cats”. Koenig affectionately calls her “little mouse” or “baby.” But she also worries: “I am not getting any younger. So who is going to take care of the animals?”

“The state government is of the view that cat protection regulations in individual areas have had a positive impact on animal welfare,” the department wrote. Neutering reduces susceptibility to infectious diseases in ownerless cats. Castration of cats with a home and provider also has an impact on protecting homeless cats, she said. So these cats can no longer “contribute to the breeding of homeless cats”.

According to surveys conducted by the Animal Protection Society and the City Veterinary Office of Erfurt, the health status of captive animals improved significantly in the period from 2017 to 2019 compared to the period before the law came into force. In 2015 and 2016, only 45 percent of captured homeless cats were evaluated as clinically healthy by the treating vet. After the decree came into force, this rate increased from 48% (2017) to 58% (2018) and 67% (2019).


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