Animal shelters are overcrowded: The Humane Society is calling for state help

At first they were a gentle pastime, a great companion in times of lockdown, cuddling to many lonely hearts, but after the pandemic they are now increasingly ending up in animal shelters. Many owners now do not have time to take care of their dogs, cats, turtles, hamsters or rabbits. It is also possible for a pampered puppy to become an antisocial teenager without an education. A real problem for animal shelters, as many of them are close to or already have entry freeze. Since they are funded mainly through donations, they also lack money for the animal mass. The German Humane Society therefore demands immediate action and financial assistance from the state.

Write off the “best friend” after Corona

In the register of the German Animal Welfare Society, 740 animal welfare societies with more than 550 animal shelters and sanctuaries are organized throughout Germany. 83 animal shelters are listed in Bavaria, from Aschaffenburg to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. But not every animal shelter is registered with the Animal Welfare Association, so the number is much higher.

The majority of them are currently full house. So is Bamberg. It is so crowded that animals are increasingly being placed with foster families so that they can make space for all emergencies. There is a growing shortage of voluntary helpers and a willingness to donate hesitant in light of inflation, rising prices and the impending explosion in energy costs. At the Quellenhof Passbrunn animal shelter in the Dingolfing-Landau region alone, donations are down 50 percent. A treadmill for animal shelters: less money, more and more animals.

Animal shelter bears the consequences of online trading

Above all, the still thriving illegal online trade is making life difficult for animal shelters. The costs of often abused animals cannot be borne by animal shelters. “Even in the small animal sector, whether it’s rabbits or guinea pigs, any animals you can easily order on Ebay, which I got without thinking and with little money, we have a tremendous response,” says Samantha Licari of Berganza Animal Shelter in Bamberg.

There is little federal or state assistance for this problem. When BR24 was asked what specifically is being done against the online animal trade, the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment replied: “In order to be able to control the online trade in pets more closely, Bavaria, for example, called for mandatory identity checks for the trade. Online at the recent Conference of Consumer Protection Ministers pets are being used. The federal government is required to establish the appropriate legal basis here. Bavaria will continue to work actively to protect the animal.” The Ministry of Environment is also using the Internet campaign “Mind Instead of Mercy” to draw attention to the illegal puppy trade.

But illegal traders were not remotely deterred by such measures. In addition, this topic has been negotiated for years, but nothing has actually been done. The German Animal Welfare Association responds that this shift in responsibility has been going on for years. “We’re full of bitterness. The municipality pushes it to the state, the state to the federal government and the federal government says the municipality is responsible. This is a cycle that wipes out animal welfare,” says Thomas Schroeder of the German Animal Welfare Association. “Other controls could have been introduced a long time ago that could make online service providers accountable when it comes to fines and penalties.”

Found abandoned animals or animals? This makes a difference

Animal shelters receive existing animals. Shelters get alimony allowance for them, but not for abandoned animals. However, the service does not pay per animal. Each municipality must pay a certain amount per inhabitant in order to be able to take care of the animals. In one case it could be 20 cents, in the other it could be higher. If all goes well for the animal shelters, the district office negotiates for the communities. If things go wrong, the animal shelter should also talk to every injured mayor.

“Our contracts are now 20 years old. We are now in negotiations with the municipalities,” explains Samantha Licari of the animal shelter in Bamberg. Financial support cannot depend on negotiation skills and on the cities involved. “There should be a regulation at the level of Bavaria.”

“Animal welfare is a constant struggle and beggary for money. It makes us so tired and sad. We care about our fellow creatures.” Ilona Wogan, President of the Bavarian Animal Welfare Association

Tierschutzbund Bayern calls for uniform fees across Bavaria

Specifically, Ilona Wogan of the Bavarian Animal Welfare Association and head of the animal shelter in Dingolfing-Landau reported funding the animals in her area: “We get 75 cents per person per year from the municipalities in the area and in return we get to take all the animals in the area and take care of them, Sometimes for life.” With all the cost increases, the money is not enough. And one should not forget that this legal regulation applies only to existing animals.

“We urgently need funding at the Bavaria and standardized level to cover the costs for the municipal duty, which we are doing as a mission as an animal shelter.” Ilona Wogan, President of the Bavarian Animal Welfare Association

Thomas Schroeder of the German Animal Welfare Association told BR24 that the municipalities have so far bought their way out of their actual duty. “They have destroyed animal shelters and are counting on the fact that things will somehow continue. Volunteering does that.” It has now been accessed to some extent is possible. Animal welfare is no longer able to withstand all this on its own. “We need money from the municipalities, states and the federal government,” Schroeder said. “We need a combined relief package.”

Animal shelters are funded by the state – money is not enough

“So that animals can be well looked after in emergency situations, the Free State has been running a support program for animal shelters in Bavaria since 2019. A total of 1.5 million euros has been earmarked for this purpose in the current budget,” the Ministry of Environment wrote when asked by BR24. But this is by far insufficient to accommodate thousands of animals in species-appropriate homes, to provide them with medical care and, in some cases, to educate them about microchipping, deworming, pollination, and mediation.

Until 2019, animal welfare in the Free State of Bavaria was not appreciated at all, criticizes Thomas Schroeder of the German Animal Welfare Association. Only three years ago the so-called “animal shelter” first came from the Bavarian family. But every application is subject to high bureaucratic hurdles.

Criticism of complex finance

Ilona and Jane from the animal shelter Dingolfing-Landau see it this way, too. She says applying for this scholarship is very complicated. Anyone who receives animals from abroad, from foreign animal pens, is excluded from this funding. Wojahn explains that a small part can only be implemented for runtime, but with a very complex proof. This prevents many from even submitting the application, after all, animal rights activists are not administrative people. The German Animal Welfare Association describes the Free State of Bavaria as the absolute last in terms of financial support in a national comparison.

After all: the rapid help for the Ukrainian animals came from the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Cem Özdemir (B90 / The Greens). He gave five million euros to take care of the animals of Ukrainian refugees who are not allowed to take them to shelters. In addition, Germany wants to provide five million euros for veterinary medicines, Ozdemir said during a visit to Kyiv.

Higher costs – lower local donations

The German Animal Welfare Association lists more problems that animal shelters are currently experiencing:

  • Increased veterinary costs due to increase in fee schedule
  • Rising energy costs, rising construction costs, rising feed and animal supply costs
  • Additional costs increase due to higher minimum wage (October 22)
  • An increasing number of animals that require intensive care
  • Low income donations in animal welfare on site

“The federal government is also required with the goal of achieving the state’s goal of animal welfare, prevention, animal health, and communication.” German Animal Welfare Association

Application of the State Animal Protection Association

The German Animal Welfare Association is demanding an immediate special pot to compensate for the increased prices. Measures that have been long requested, including consistent action against online animal trade, the Pet Protection Act, and the introduction of a positive list of animals that could be kept in private hands, must now finally be addressed.

“What may remove animal shelters’ worst fears is immediate financial support for animal shelters and socially disadvantaged pet owners to offset higher veterinary costs and immediate clarification of applicable BGB animal law with the municipality’s obligation to pay compensation to cover costs for each animal in the shelter.” German Animal Welfare Association

Not only corona animals cause problems

Currently, the Bavarian State Animal Protection Association is struggling with a veritable “cat flood”: “Countless orphaned cats, entire cat families, pregnant cat mothers, as well as older and sick animals must be admitted to animal shelters in Bavaria every day. .Capacities are exhausted,” the association explains.

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