Animal shelters and nurseries in Miltenberg are crammed with jams

Unwanted and exposed – stop recording

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This abandoned rabbit was caught in a thorny fence. 15-year-old Louis Rachor, who volunteered at the Elsavapark animal pen, was able to save the rabbit and is now taking care of the wound. Photo: Louis Rachor

Photo: Louis Rachor

More than 20 rabbits live in the Elsavapark in Elsenfeld. Since the end of the lockdown, an increasing number of people are giving their animals to take care of their homes. But there is a shortage of space, money and volunteers. Pictured (from left): Louis Rachore, Sandra Daniel and Alina Jett. Photo: Julia Presser

Photo: Julia Presser

In a nerve-wracking rescue, animal friends at Elsavapark rescue two abandoned rabbits. The frightened animals were caught in a barbed wire fence in the Elsenfeld Forest. “Unfortunately, cases like this are not uncommon right now,” says animal rights activist Carmen Brenner. Animal lovers are angry.

The enclosures at Elsavapark, where pigs, birds, goats, guinea pigs and rabbits find a home, are full of jam. It was originally established as a sanctuary, and there are now increasing inquiries from individuals who wish to dispose of small animals they purchased during the Corona lockdown. “In just the past year and a half, we’ve had more than 20 inquiries — rabbits, parrots, house pigs, quails, and chickens,” Brenner says.

Due to lack of space, money, manpower and all animal keepers working on a voluntary basis, animal lovers only accept emergencies, i.e. pets whose owners have died or can no longer care for them due to health reasons. Animal rights activist Sandra Daniel agrees, “It’s crazy that people who have bought a pet to pass the time naturally expect us to take care of it when they don’t feel like it anymore.” She almost cried when she saw how some pets must live – neglected and in a confined space. “I would love to save every animal,” she says. “But that’s not possible.”

The costs are too high

Other assistance facilities are also full. Sandra Daniel and Carmen Brenner learn that Miltenberg’s animal-aiding abilities cannot withstand the onslaught of “trapped animals”. Kristin Elisabeth Nowak, director emeritus of the Mouse Sanatorium, which has moved from Heimbuchenthal to Bad König, says many facilities are about to close or have already closed. “The costs are very high,” she says. The rat sanctuary is famous for taking in exotic species such as harvest mice or rats in addition to the regular colored mice. “We are the only exotic animal welfare center in Germany and are currently receiving inquiries from Switzerland and Spain. We simply can’t do that anymore, both financially and in terms of effort,” says Nowak.

She recommends getting an animal from an animal shelter or voluntary home when buying new animals. There you pay a protection fee – in the case of exotic animals, you must register the animal with the lower Nature Conservation Authority. If you are really serious and get along well with the animal, you should inform yourself extensively beforehand, says Noack.

Carmen Brenner and Sandra Daniel are pleading with animal friends at Elsavapark for more information. “Learn about the breeder and don’t buy randomly online,” says Sandra Daniel. Questionable breeders can be found on online platforms such as eBay classifieds. Daniel talks about the breeders who sell chicks. “Anyone who has kept a chicken in the house knows how messy this mess is and how bad the stench is. When the chicks are young, they are cute, but after a few weeks people expect us to take them in.”

Grass wars with newcomers

Since animal lovers have already reported online that they only accept emergencies, some pet owners have secretly dumped their rabbits over the high enclosure fence at Elsavapark. Among the animals there was an uncut buck and a pregnant rabbit. “People don’t seem to know what this business means to us,” says Sandra Danielle. “We have to bear the costs of neutering, placing young animals and socializing with new rabbits.” There were regular territorial fights between old and new animals, which is why the newcomers had to be kept in separate enclosures for weeks. “Anyone who throws rabbits over a fence risks not only getting injured from falling from about three meters high, but also risking other injuries from turf wars — such as biting ears or cuts to the eyes, paws and tail,” Daniel says.

“Anyone who really wants their animal to be taken care of should agree to the care,” suggests Carmen Brenner. Or at least cover the cost of first aid at the vet. Then animal lovers will be ready to accept animals from private homes again. So far, admission has been reserved for emergencies.

Julia Presser

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