Info on what animal shelters are like in Germany

66 posts in this topic

Hi

 

A group of us would like to visit an animal shelter and get an idea of how Germans control unwanted animals and strays.

 

We here in the US are experiencing massive overcrowding of our shelters and would like to visit and see what could be implemented here.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Q

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there are shelters and rescue groups in most countries and "over crowding".

As for Germany vs. US you might want to also look at the culture. This is just personal opinion, but I think a lot of it has to do with how animals are perceived and socialized. If a dog has had more socialization and training then it'll be better behaved.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much to both of you for the information.

 

I have written an e-mail to a shelter in Wuertzburg to see if they would be agreeable to a visit from our Study Group.

 

It is hoped that we can share information that will benefit both countries, although I suspect Germany may be better off than we are.

 

Q

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'm telling you- there's more to it than how shelters are run.

It's also how animals are perceived and integrated into society.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mere, you weren't explicit enough. The study group should understand that here in Germany you can go just about everywhere with your dog. Few bars, cafes or restaurants are off limits to pets. Many non-food stores will also let pets in. So if you limit your comparison to just the animal shelters then you really are missing the big picture.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I (we) do understand this, but we also know that we're not going to change the way the US behaves as compared to Europe in regards as to where pets are allowed to go and right now our most pressing need is to control the overpopulation of unwanted animals and to make sure that those who do adopt, keep that pet.

 

Our shelter doesn't turn away animals and we are overfilled.

 

One way we try to combat this is by Spay, Neuter and Adopt, but it's a very slow process.

 

We just want to become familiar with how laws regarding animals in Germany are set and enforced.

 

Maybe I am the one who wasn't explicit enough.

 

Thanks

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't think you're going to find your answer by visiting a shelter. I'm not an expert, but i've worked with dogs in and their owners in both countries. If people want to get rid of a dog in Germany they will. Same with the US.

In my opinion it's more of how the animals are perceived. Yes, it'll take time to change that, but look at more animal friendly communities in the US and do a study on those communities against other not-so-friendly ones and see if you find a difference. If so it'll be a lot cheaper than going over to Germany to one sole shelter to see things. You'd have to do a whole study and look at various parts of the country and more. Shelters and rescue groups are great, but it needs to move past them. As you know change takes time.

 

Also, right now things are a bit different. Many people are giving up animals due to 'economic' problems. We have received a lot of relinquishments due to changing economic status, having to move, etc.

 

As for your shelters overcrowding try contacting some breed rescues (or all-breed rescues) see if they can help.

Do you have people working on behavior issues and basic manners training to make the dogs more adoptable?

yes, some of what i'm saying is common and you probably are, but since you never said which shelter you're with or even which region you're in...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I really don't get it. Shelters are crying out for money, yet somehow a budget is found for a trip to Germany? :blink:

 

The USA is a huge country, with all sorts of shelters in various regions. Mere is right when she says that it makes much more sense to look at different US shelters which are more successful and copy or improve their models. They are dealing with similar laws and mindsets, and their successful programs can be much more easily integrated into other US shelters.

 

 

We just want to become familiar with how laws regarding animals in Germany are set and enforced.

You don't need to come to Germany to read up on the laws, they are available online. The laws are set by the politicians at varying levels of government, same as in the USA. Then judges tinker with the laws as they interpret them and make judgements, same as in the USA. As for enforcement, that's a police issue. What will becoming familiar with German laws accomplish? Is it really helpful to know that dog owners in my region are charged an 84 euro annual licensing fee for the first dog, and 168 euros for the second? Or that foresters and hunters have the right to shoot loose dogs if they are bothering the wildlife? (though most will attempt to catch the dog) All of which you can read online without buying a plane ticket and booking hotels.

 

You say that your most pressing need is to control overpopulation of unwanted animals, and ensure that those who adopt a pet will keep it. Well, the latter is a simple fix: establish a tougher screening process and make it more difficult to adopt. Those who are doing it on the spur of the moment will quickly lose interest, though there's nothing to stop them from walking into a pet shop and using their credit card. Then once the puppy has lost its appeal, you've got yet another unwanted animal swelling the population. So in the end it isn't something that the shelter can really change after all, unless society changes the way it views disposable pets. And now we're back to the beginning, in talking about cutural differences which you aren't interested in, since you can't change them anyway.

 

Enjoy your trip. The local wine is very good, and the Würzburg Residence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so worth a tour.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

haha feel free to pay me the money you'd spend on your trip as a consulting fee and I'll help you sort it all out.

Okay, in all seriousness I'm more than willing to help you with research in the US or come up with ideas (volunteer).

I have many views on this and ways to help make improvements. some are quite basic as in get well-behaved dogs. This is basic, but a bit of a challenge since it's more the people than the dogs.

Anyway, I could go on and on about this and my different views, opinions, experiences. Feel Free to pm me if you'd like to hear them or want some help (or why I think i'm qualified to help/volunteer in your efforts).

 

I still say a lot is cultural in views and also how the animals are worked with. It starts with the different levels of socialization from it goes to behavioral issues resulting from socialization (or lack there of) and then it escalates. On top of it right now you have people freaking out about money. Without the money thing you have a culture/mind set that is different and an outside culture that may/not be as accepting.

Some of these can actually change in a community and it can happen rather rapidly- especially in summer (due to people being out and about thus more possibility to change perception of dogs via 'leading by example').

 

Need to look at the breeding laws in your community/state, the local ordinance, look at vet statistics (how many pets are up to date on vaccinations), look at license laws. Look at the types of training offered in the area, types of humane education, community involvement and perception, etc. There's a huge list. This is a topic that I have spent a lot of time thinking about and starting to work on.

 

It involves everyone form school groups and scouts, common pet owners, shelters, trainers, breeders, police, etc. Slowly it can change and in some instances not even all that slowly if implemented correctly. You won't have a 100% cure, but an adjustment in attitude, relinquishments, etc.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're paying our OWN way...

 

So what you're saying is that Germany has nothing that we can emulate, so stay home?

 

I know it's all relative to size, but we're euthanizing 5 million dogs and cats a year in the US, and I think getting a handle on overpopulation is a priority.

 

The problem (as you pointed out) is that different municipalities have different laws pertaining to animal control, but the one thread that can unite us in solving the problem is to make Spay/Neuter/ Adopt manadatory except for licensed breeders.

 

Thanks again for your opinions.

 

Q

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I know most shelters/rescuces DO make spay/neuter mandatory. Any decent rescue/shelter wouldn't let a dog go without it.

Let's leave the young aged pups out of this debate at present. You might not like my current opinion on that (it's subject to change with more research, but with the current info/studies that we have my opinion might not be all too popular amongst severe animal lovers).

 

Why not start working with your local vets to provide discounted spay/neuter or have your shelter provide them based on income (to dogs not from the shelter)?

 

Learning about spay/neuter from Europe won't help much. If it does i'll apologize and thank you for what you find since it'll be helpful to all of us working with dogs, especially rescue/shelter dogs.

 

Just like with feral cats- start getting the feral dogs and 'fixing' them. Even if you let them go again, it still helps.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just curious as to why you've chosen Germany as your study area?

 

 

If people want to get rid of a dog in Germany they will. Same with the US. In my opinion it's more of how the animals are perceived.

I think this is true. What's different is the Germany, or at least the Munich area (which I have experience with) seems to be a nation of dedicated dog lovers. Rescue groups bring in dogs for adoption from countries all over Europe -- Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta, Romania, to name a few.

 

I don't have any hard facts on why placements are so high here, just my observations. Dogs are part of everyday life, as the posters above mentioned. People travel, shop, eat out at restaurants, with their dogs as companions. So dogs are exremely well socialized as a result, and aren't treated as a part-time hobby. It doesn't seem all that difficult to find accomodations with a dog either; the vast majority of people here live in rented apartments.

 

Strangely, spay/neutering is not a common practice here. Germans, from what I can tell, are quite squeamish about the practice, but if someone allows their dog to breed they are strongly condemned by their peers. Social pressure here is quite strong - everyone has an opinion about other people's behavour and aren't shy to share it.

 

You will need an interpreter if you want to make contacts with shelters and rescue groups - I regret I can't help there as my German is crap. But perhaps someone here on Toytown will volunteer. I wish you good luck!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something else I just thought of that might be worth investigating are the animal protection laws in Germany. They seem to be very strong, so it might be interesting to learn how this directly impacts on social attitudes toward animals.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I won't need an interpreter, since I am German-American.

 

If it makes a difference, I am from Georgia, but why should it? Here in the USA it is an epidemic problem, and I know I haven't given you very much information, mere, but all of us who work with our shelter, either employees or volunteers are VERY active in spay-neuter, even going so far as paying for the surgeries out of our treasury, or letting people pay what they can, and also actually going to pick up and take back the animals in our own vehicles.

 

We have several vets who do offer special rates, but those are mostly introductory, so we are always looking for a "deal".

 

Finally, it seems like you're getting defensive when there's no need to be. We agree on almost everything you've written except that training puppies is not a priority for us.

 

Again, thanks for your opinions.

 

Q

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

yes, some of what i'm saying is common and you probably are, but since you never said which shelter you're with or even which region you're in...

That's not a very nice thing to say about yourself, or indeed, others.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Danke.

 

It will help a lot to be prepared and be able to ask intelligent questions.

 

Our law-makers in the USA (those in Georgia anyway) don't assign a very high prioroty to animal welfare, so it's up to us in the private sector to do something pro-active.

 

Q

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I know it's all relative to size, but we're euthanizing 5 million dogs and cats a year in the US, and I think getting a handle on overpopulation is a priority. The problem (as you pointed out) is that different municipalities have different laws pertaining to animal control, but the one thread that can unite us in solving the problem is to make Spay/Neuter/ Adopt manadatory except for licensed breeders.

I think you're missing the point. Overpopulation is not a problem you're going to solve overnight, or by coming to Germany. Mere hit the nail on the head, training animals (and their prospective owners) is really what you need to be focusing on. After all, aren't behavioral problems one of the leading reasons that animals are returned (especially among puppies)? It certainly was an issue for 3 of the 5 pets that members of my family have adopted from shelters.

 

Good luck. I don't envy you your job.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I (we) do understand this, but we also know that we're not going to change the way the US behaves as compared to Europe in regards as to where pets are allowed to go and right now our most pressing need is to control the overpopulation of unwanted animals and to make sure that those who do adopt, keep that pet.

 

Our shelter doesn't turn away animals and we are overfilled.

The way animals are respected and integrated in society is one of the reasons that overpopulation isn't much of a problem in Germany in comparison to the US.

These mass amounts of strays and unwanted pets just don't happen here, nor is the mantra to spay or neuter imprinted here like it is in the US. We had to fight with our vet to get our male cat neutered because she thought it was such a shame that a beautiful cat like him wouldn't get a chance to have offspring. Our breeder wouldn't even sell us the cat until they had come around to our place to make sure it was suitable and another woulnd't sell us a cat at all because we only wanted one and they wouldn't allow their cats to be sold into homes where they'd be alone most of the day (we came to that conclusion eventually as well and got 2 but from a different breeder and at different times).

 

I have friends who went to an animal shelter to find a cat, and found one they fell in love with only to be told that they couldn't have it as the cat was an outside cat and they wanted to keep it in a (large) apartment.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now