“Full with the surface”: Corona animals inhabit animal shelters

Nuremberg – When the kennel door opens, there is a deafening barking. Several dogs enthusiastically run up and down behind bars. On the other hand, Romeo immediately disappears through an opening on the inside of the dog’s wing. “He’s very anxious,” says Tanya Schnabel, who runs an animal shelter in Nuremberg.

She could only guess what this three-year-old had experienced. The dog was found an animal: it was tied up in a residential area for three hours before someone brought it to the animal shelter. And Romeo is not alone.

The Nuremberg Animal Shelter is currently home to about 60 dogs, about 120 cats and even more small animals. “We’re full of surface,” Schnabel says. As a result, the shelter could no longer accommodate more animals. According to the German Animal Welfare Association, the situation is similar in other animal shelters in Germany. “Many of the animals being kept push employees to their limits,” says President Thomas Schroeder. Mainly because many dogs are difficult to handle and need a lot of care.

Perhaps in the wake of the epidemic

So later a nurse will go for a walk with Romeo. You cannot entrust such an animal to the volunteers who usually walk dogs in Nuremberg. “The assumption is that these are the effects of corona,” Schnabel says.

That’s what Beate Kaminski of the Berlin animal shelter believes, too, where a notable number of puppies of larger, more demanding breeds were abandoned last year. “People may have brought small dogs indoors in the wake of the Corona pet boom, but they didn’t do the necessary grooming. At the latest when puberty started, the little dog was completely overwhelmed by them,” she says.

The animal shelter has since imposed a freeze on entry. There are more than 80 dogs on the waiting list alone, which owners are willing to give up.

Currently there are not only a lot of dogs at the animal shelter in Saarbrücken, but also a large number of small dogs. Otherwise, the older animals would be abandoned, says Frederick Goldener. Many dogs behave strangely. “They don’t know how to communicate. They react aggressively and bark at strangers.” Others have musculoskeletal conditions. “This makes it difficult to adopt animals,” Goldner says.

Corona time also leaves traces in small dogs

Udo Kaepernick of the German Dog Association (VDH) also noted that the Corona period had left its mark on young dogs. “Dogs really have a disability. They grew up at a time when they had moved into a cocoon,” he says. They are used to being taken care of around the clock and have little contact with dogs and other people. When the owners had to go back to work after months in the home office, problems arose because they couldn’t take the dog with them, but they didn’t want them to be on their own or to be taken care of by others.

Another problem is the illegal puppy trade, which has flourished due to the high demand for dogs in the Corona crisis. Last year, 170 puppies freed from illegal transport ended up in an animal shelter in Nuremberg alone. Kaepernick says many puppies are too small to be separated from their mother and siblings. “When they are puppies, it is not clear that they have lost a crucial step in their socialization. However, this becomes apparent by the time they reach puberty. Dogs become aggressive, and there are incidents of biting in the family.”

Diseases thanks to rapid reproduction

According to Kaepernick, diseases affecting young dogs reported by the animal shelter in Saarbrücken can also be traced back to questionable breeders who did not conduct proper health checks on the parent animals. “It’s all about mass and making money fast.”

Animal shelters often find it difficult to find a new home for such dogs – especially now that Corona’s pet boom has faded. “At the moment, there are seldom any requests for our animals. Perhaps because people no longer want the animals,” says the animal shelter in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony.

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