Waldorf (dpa/lsw) – A nationwide curfew for cats in Waldorf is calling for action and species and animal rights activists. The measure taken by the Rhine-Neckar district to protect the endangered crowned lark is drastic: the cats are not allowed to roam the breeding area in the south of the city from April to August for the next three years – unless they are attacked with a short leash or clearly not moving In areas that could pose a risk to rare birds. So far, four objections to the general decree have been received by the district office in the Rhine-Neckar region, which will be referred to the Regional Council for a decision.
The current reason for the ban on free-roaming cats is to protect three breeding pairs of songbirds, which the Nature Conservancy Naboo estimates between 1,700 and 2,700 specimens. If a brown-haired animal with a light chest and a clever coat is caught by four-legged fugitive friends, the owners face a hefty fine of up to 50,000 euros. After all, anyone whose cat escapes closure must pay a fine of 500 euros.
The lark, whose height reaches 19 cm, is ranked in the red lists of Baden-Württemberg and in Germany in the highest category in terms of endangerment. In the state of Baden-Württemberg, there are still 60 regions whose breeding operations are concentrated in the area between Waghäusel, Walldorf and Ketsch in the north of Baden. The justification for the controversial order states: “Prohibiting release of cats into the danger zone for the period of time when it would significantly increase the risk of killing crowned larks is proportionate.” Because crowned larks are endangered by decree, and cats pose a particular danger to them, measures are appropriate, necessary and appropriate.
Hester Bommering, a chancellor at the German Animal Welfare Association, sees things from a different perspective: “This measure is completely disproportionate, illegal and cruel to animals.” Protecting the species is an important concern, but it should not be at the expense of other animals. The Animal Welfare Act treats all animals equally. “Cats have to pay for the fact that there is less and less space and food for the rare birds.” And for construction work near the breeding grounds in Walldorf, Boomrining adds: “People have to take a good look at themselves.” In 2016, six pairs could raise their young there. Unlike the district office, it does not see all the tools exhausted. “This is how cat fencing can be erected around sensitive breeding areas.”
Naboo ornithologist Martin Rommler takes on the protection aspect of the species: “It could be the little animal captured by a cat nail in the coffin of a dying population.” According to him, crowned larks mainly stay on land, where they search for food and hatch their eggs. They are easy prey for cats. But this is only part of the threat, along with intensive farming, land sealing, the death of insects and pesticides, as well as foxes and fish.
Pommerening cares about the welfare of cats. If their need for freedom is suppressed, it can lead to aggressive or depressive behavior. “They can get unclean, especially if they don’t know the litter box, urinate in the apartment and scratch furniture and carpets.” The association’s woman asked, “Who is responsible for this damage?” Cat owners will have to dig deeper into their wallets if they want to take their cats to an animal house during the breeding season, as recommended by the county office, among other things.
After receiving the objections to the extraordinary general ordinance, the Regional Council, as the supreme authority for nature conservation, expects to make a decision within a period of at least four to six weeks – evaluation is not easy.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220604-99-545121 / 2