On the Rhine and the Ruhr.
Long waiting lists and even inquiries from other federal states: Many people would now rather get rid of their pet than the coronavirus period.
The lonely Corona years are over: people in NRW can now travel again, meet up with friends and no longer work from home. Conversely, this means you also have less time for the pets you bought during the coronavirus season. According to various animal shelters, the number of animal surrenders is higher than ever. “In the past, around 2019, someone mentioned maybe once a week. Now we have five inquiries a day,” says Stefanie Bresnik from the animal shelter Moers. Several animal shelters confirm that they are even receiving inquiries from other federal states.
In the meantime, there would be a freeze on Moers admissions and a very long waiting list. This leads to a lot of frustration and anger among people who are fed up with their animals. “We regularly receive threats that the animals will be abandoned or euthanized if we don’t take them. People don’t understand that we’re completely overwhelmed,” says Bresnik.
Levies are clearly “crown animals”. “Many people then saw a photo on the Internet and immediately bought the animal on Ebay or via Facebook. It was an impulse buy,” says the breeder. This is why many now seem to be overwhelmed with the pet.
Lots of online pet shopping
Animals were also brokered through pseudo-animal associations overseas that don’t have the infrastructure to take back dogs, for example. It does not matter what environment the animal is used to or whether it is suitable for beginners. Therefore, many dogs are given, with which there have been bite incidents e.g. This makes Bresnik particularly worried: “I don’t want to imagine what will happen if the dogs, some of which are dangerous, are simply abandoned.” At the animal shelter, mediation takes much longer. However, many do not want to spend time.
“Animals have become a consumer good: an animal must be available when I want it. In everyday life it must be adapted immediately. If I don’t like it anymore, I put an ad online and sell it like a Playstation,” criticizes Timo Franzen, director of the animal shelter in Dusseldorf.
Another obstacle for animal shelters is the rising cost of energy and feed – and the concomitant decline in donations. “We are a little afraid of next winter. We heat our yard with natural gas and our dogs’ rooms are heated with electricity. This meant an extreme additional payment last winter,” says Julia Tirkschleit from the Leygrafenhof animal shelter at im Kleve area. “In 2021, every day at the shelter with all the trimmings cost almost 5,000 euros,” recalls Franzen.
High costs for animal shelters in NRW
A subsidy to import and care for donated animals would be a help, he says. “At the moment, the animal protection association and therefore its donors bear these costs themselves.” In the long run, this would also save money: Because in many cases, the animals that are donated are also animals that were prevented from being found. The support would ensure faster mediation and thus reduce costs, because the owner of the donating animal can provide information about the health status and behavioral characteristics of the animal that would otherwise first have to be determined at the animal shelter.
Bresnik from the animal shelter in Moers would also like it not possible to negotiate low limits on the Internet. This is the only way to protect animals from being passed around.
According to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, animal shelters can currently apply for grants for building measures, housing pets from Ukraine and for cat sterilization. There is currently no funding planned for the adoption of coronavirus animals. From 2023, however, there should be further help to support voluntary work in private animal shelters. This should also create spaces for found animals.
Until then, Tirkschleit from the private animal shelter Leygrafenhof has to endure. “We will not give up so easily, even if it is very difficult. Our furry friends need us, they give us so much back every day.”
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