Searching for a new home: animal shelters before the collapse – Potsdam

Potsdam – No More Space: Animal shelters in the area explode at the seams. “Everything is full, the situation is really very difficult,” says Potsdam vet Gordon Ebeling, who is also a member of Tier eV, which runs an animal shelter in Geltau. “Actually, we’ve never had to turn down cats before, but this year we had to do it for the first time,” Ebeling says. It was a “hard cat year” of litters. He can’t say why, but in his veterinary practice alone he has already neutered 100 cats this year, many of which are wild cats that are released again after that. In previous years, this value was from 30 to 60 castrations – throughout the year.

Another stress factor is the holiday season: “In the past few weeks, the facilities have had to accommodate many abandoned animals,” the Brandenburg Animal Protection Society wrote in a press release. “Some pet owners are trying to shirk their responsibility and pass their animals off as alleged found animals.”

Animals that are found are lost or escaped from pets whose owners are not known. The Berlin animal shelter in Falkenberg, which has been overburdened for months, has also raised the alarm and recently imposed an entry freeze on privately owned animals. “Unfortunately, we have to apply the emergency brake now,” coach Maren Izmir said. The animal shelter takes care of about 1,400 animals per day; If all orders are accepted, there will be about 300 more animals.

Animal keeper Catherine Wickell takes care of the feline Teo and his feline companions. Photo: Otmar Winter

The situation is similar at the animal shelter in Potsdam: there has been a freeze on the entry of animals since the beginning of July, but this is mainly due to the small size of the facility. “We’ve had many inquiries about guest houses in the past few weeks, but we’re fully booked,” says manager Antje Schwarze. The shelter currently houses twelve dogs, 28 cats, and 16 small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

But why are animal shelters full? “During the epidemic, people were buying animals on a large scale, so the market became saturated,” Ebeling says. The result: there are not enough people interested in adopting animals from the animal shelter, so there are no places available for new animals. “Also here at Gilto, the number of inquiries has gone down dramatically,” Ebeling says. Another factor is the uncertain economic situation many people are in right now: “If I don’t know if I can still buy groceries next year, I’ll think twice about buying an animal.”

Antje Schwartz, head of the animal shelter in Potsdam.Photo: Otmar Winter

Ebeling can’t say if the holiday season has anything to do with the number of abandoned animals: “Not much has changed since the start of summer vacation.” Cats, on the other hand, are less so. “Rabbits are repeatedly abandoned in the woods, sometimes with their stalls,” says Ebeling. The number of animals found in Potsdam is very high compared to 2021: last year a total of 154 animals were found, now there are 110. Mostly dogs and cats.

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Overloading and low demand for space aren’t the only problems area animal shelters currently have to deal with, Ebeling says: Many facilities are understaffed and reliant on donations. “But donations have gone down a lot lately.” Another problem is increasing operating costs: Tier eV operates a second animal shelter in Wiesenburg, which is heated with natural gas. According to Ebeling, the club paid 1,400 euros last year to fill its gas tank, and this year it amounted to 3,800 euros.

Turtles are also at home at Geltow Animal Shelter.Photo: Otmar Winter

The orphanage in Brandenburg an der Havel is closed

A look at Brandenburg an der Havel shows the distress that animal shelters can currently face: At the start of the week, the city closed the famous animal sanctuary run by Marco Hafenberg, where a team of volunteers looked after more than 200 animals. The Veterinary Office justified this move by the fact that housing, care and maintenance of animals is not in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act. Ebeling suspects that the observant staff at the reception center did not have the heart to keep the animals away, which is why the facility is overburdened. “This is the case in many organizations where a lot of the work falls on just a few shoulders,” Ebeling says.

Wensickendorf’s Notkleintiere e.V., which is funded entirely by donations and operates a reserve near Oranienburg, faces similar problems: in mid-July, the Oberhavel County banned volunteers from taking more wild animals, and the number of animals in the reserve is also to be reduced. The association defends itself by filing a petition against the move. “The state of animal shelters is very problematic, and politicians need to react there,” Ebeling says.

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