More animals, more expenses, but less and less money

The pandemic has created many new words, one of which is the Corona animal. These are pets that people bought as companions and pastimes during lockdown and working from home, and that now get in the way of normal everyday life and end up in animal shelters. Of course there are also Corona animals in the Dachau animal shelter, but they are not the main problem, says Silvia Gruber, chairwoman of the animal protection association and thus also of the animal shelter.

On the contrary, the energy prices are hitting the mark here as well, gas is used for heating, and the shelter also consumes quite a bit of electricity. “We have three commercial washing machines and two dryers that run all day,” says Gruber. To do this, the animal shelter team collects pets that have been run over in the district, especially cats, because they have a chip reader, so concerned owners at least have the sad certainty. One to three times a day, “and if we don’t find anyone, we’re left with the disposal costs.”

The world has other problems than animal welfare right now

Silvia Gruber knows that animal welfare has a bad hand in these times, the world has completely different problems. “You feel stupid in the current situation,” she says, “but our situation is catastrophic.” The house is full, the amount of donations, otherwise an important financial mainstay, has fallen by around half, Gruber estimates. The subsidies from the district municipalities, 1.50 euros per inhabitant and year, are not even enough for the bare essentials, even though the city of Dachau is the only municipality to add 30 cents per inhabitant and year. Roughly speaking, the calculation looks like this: the animal shelter spends around 850,000 euros a year, municipal subsidies add up to a good 200,000 euros after tax deductions, and 30,000 from membership fees.

Animal shelter Dachau: The new extension still lacks the open space for dog kennels.

The new extension still lacks the space for dog kennels.

(Photo: Toni Heigl)

At least the new multifunctional building, which can be used for three weeks, alleviates the Raumot. It should have been finished in spring, but Corona, material bottlenecks and a lack of craftsmen caused delays and additional costs. The cost of the new building is now around 1.5 million euros. It is therefore not clear whether the outdoor facilities can still be completed this year. Even if you urgently need them because there are no freewheels for the dogs. 72 cats, 18 dogs and 30 small animals are currently accommodated. Plus a couple of hedgehogs, the first of the year, who land dehydrated and malnourished. The vet costs alone average 15,000 euros a month. And they will be much higher when the new scale of fees for veterinarians comes in October, with some drastic cost increases.

The district of Dachau has a cat protection ordinance, but no protection area

The cats are the biggest concern at the moment, “40 of them alone are kittens,” reports Gruber. “All from people who don’t have their cats spayed, especially in the countryside.” In fact, the number of cats living in the wild is increasing across Germany, which is why more and more municipalities are introducing a castration obligation for outdoor cats. Because the animals do not just enjoy the wild life, but are sick and malnourished. In Bavaria, a castration obligation is still the big exception, the Berchtesgadener Land was just the beginning, where the district office issued a regulation for the municipality of Laufen. The Dachauer Kreis has had such a regulation since 2020, but it only applies if a specific area is formulated, which has not yet happened. One criterion is a proven overpopulation. Nevertheless, according to Silvia Gruber, “the cat misery is huge”. Two kittens have just come to the shelter two days apart, one with ten kittens and one with nine kittens, almost all with a cold and inflamed eyes. That means for the team: 21 times eye ointment, eight times a day. Additionally.

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