Sibylle Fritz and her team around animal shelter manager Silke Vierboom are used to surprises – more than they would like. Even if eggs are laid in their nests as sweet as they were a few days ago.
“The stork flew over the animal shelter overnight,” says the chairwoman of the Rastatt animal protection association with a laughing and crying eye. Eight Golden Retriever puppies in one fell swoop – the grief at the shelter mounts.
35 dogs currently housed alone
The current statistics show: The facility on the outskirts of Rastatt remains at the limit. 35 dogs alone are currently accommodated. “16 are only allowed,” says Fritz. “We’re breaking the rules. But the veterinary office tolerates it.” There are also 30 cats and 44 small animals, mainly guinea pigs.
The trust of the authorities in the house at the sewage treatment plant could be taken as a compliment by the eight permanent employees. If everyday life didn’t put so much pressure on her.
The chairman of the association now has a long list of stressful factors: “We have to experience again and again that animals have to be housed with us because their owners suddenly can no longer look after them. We take care of them, but there does not appear to be a solid legal framework for doing so, nor is there any guarantee that we will be paid for our services in these cases.”
The bottom line is that last year the cash register showed that the expenses of 217,000 euros were 27,000 euros higher than the income. If the association did not benefit from inheritances, the deficit would be even greater. It was a stroke of luck for Fritz six years ago that the club inherited a house: “We live on it now.”
Words of praise for the team
But that cannot be the solution, says Thomas Schröder. The President of the German Animal Welfare Association is on a flying visit to Rastatt that day and finds words of praise – but only for his fellow campaigners on site: “Great team, great commitment. With the structural condition, they make the best of it.”
His further judgments in the presence of the city councilors Heiko Ullrich, Joachim Fischer and Roland Walter are less flattering. Schröder speaks of a “significant underfunding” of the animal shelter – although the city of Rastatt increased its annual subsidy by 20,000 to 45,000 euros last year.
Nevertheless, those responsible have to stretch themselves even more to the ceiling. The chairman of the association fears that the increase in the minimum wage will tear “noticeable holes”. The explosion in energy costs “will hit us hard”. The construction measures – dog hall and rabies quarantine station – that have been classified as urgent for years are on hold. Financially impossible.