By Pia Amberger, Environmental Management Division, USAG Ansbach DPW
When the big summer holidays start in Germany, around 70,000 animals will be abandoned by their owners. Among them are not just dogs and cats, but also exotic animals like spiders or reptiles.
Most often owners can’t or don’t want to bring their pets with them on vacation. Putting them in a kennel is too expensive or takes too much time. Therefore, a lot of owners choose to either leave their animals at home, where they could starve or die of thirst, or they abandon them on the streets, at a rest stop on the autobahn or tied to street signs or garbage containers.
What most people don’t realize is that pets can’t survive on their own outside. Anyone who abandons an animal in Germany is committing an offense that can be punished with a fine of up to 25,000 euros. As such, if you find an abandoned pet, you have to help. Be careful when approaching the animal as it could hurt both you and itself. It is recommended to contact the police or the local animal protection organization if you need help.
If you are a pet owner yourself and you are unable to continue to care for your pet, don’t abandon it somewhere. Contact the local animal shelter, called “Tierheim” in German, and ask for advice. All animals are accepted no matter why their owner can no longer care for them. There are also plenty of websites that can help you find a suitable, low-cost place for your pet to stay if you are unable to temporarily care for it.
Another important issue during hot summers is people leaving their pets inside their cars while they go off to do something quickly. No matter how quick you think you will be, with the hot summer temperatures, your pet could suffer from oxygen deficiency, nausea, circulatory problems and circulatory failure in mere minutes as the temperature inside the car rises quickly. By the time the signs of heat stroke are visible, it is often already too late.