Letting Your Cat Outside Could Cost You $50k In This German Town

Elected leaders in Walldorf, Germany, are worried about the crested lark — so much so that they’ve decreed cats must be kept inside, with prohibitively painful fines for anyone whose cat harms one of the birds.

According to the decree, anyone who allows their cat(s) to roam outside from now until August will be fined €500, which is about $527. But if a cat kills or injures one of the European songbirds, Walldorf’s local government will fine the cat’s caretaker up to €50,000, almost $53,000 in USD.

That’s an eye-watering amount of money, especially in light of the fact that the crested lark is listed as a species of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Experts say humans, not cats, are the biggest threat to the bird.

Officials in Walldorf — a town of about 15,000 people more than 600 kilometers southwest of Berlin — cited the same thoroughly-debunked studies that claim cats kill some 25 billion birds and small mammals annually in the US alone. They say they’re worried because the crested lark nests on the ground, making the birds, their eggs and their chicks particularly vulnerable to predators like domestic cats.

If you’re skeptical that local government officials — a mayor and town councilmen, essentially — are qualified to legislate on matters of conservation, you’re not alone. The decree has been met with pushback from animal rights advocates and feline fans.

“Suddenly preventing cats that are used to going outside from doing so, means immense restrictions and stress for the animals,” German animal welfare group Deutscher Tierschutzbund wrote in a statement. “The negative influence of cats on the population of songbirds is in any case controversial and, to our knowledge, has not yet been proven for the crested lark in Walldorf.”

And that cuts to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it? Like politicians in Australia and parts of the US, Walldorf’s elected leaders aren’t making decisions based on studies or reliable information. They’re taking action based on emotion and deeply flawed meta-analyses that aren’t even applicable to Europe.

We’ve always taken the position here at PITB that cats are much better off indoors. They’re domesticated animals, meaning if they have a “natural habitat” it’s human living rooms. They live much longer, healthier lives indoors and can be happy and fulfilled with a little effort on the part of their humans.

But we also believe decisions impacting living creatures should be based on real information gathered by people who don’t have an agenda. The landmark Washington, D.C. Cat Count is a great example, with birders, conservationists and cat lovers working together to complete an accurate census of domestic felines within city limits.

Now that they’ve established how many cats live in D.C. (about 200,000) and how many are truly feral without anyone caring for them (about 3,000), they can enact sensible solutions that are much more likely to successfully protect wildlife and cats without hysteria, agendas or inhuman proposals like enacting “cat hunting season” (as one US politician proposed), killing millions of cats with poisoned sausages (as Australia has done), or outright gunning cats down, as a rogue conservationist in California’s Bay Area did last year.

Cats are thinking, feeling animals. They deserve better than becoming the victims of human policies based on ignorance.

7 thoughts on “Letting Your Cat Outside Could Cost You $50k In This German Town”

  1. Thanx fore bringin this topick to lite Buddy an Big Buddy!
    Iss furry controvershall issn’t it??
    Inn Catnada wee not apposta roam butt all over THE country peepss let their catss due just that.
    Mee can meow to you as a semi-feral kitty mee tried to NOT take Birdiess…mee only did when FURRY FURRY hungry….
    An beecause mee Hu’man wuud not let mee back inn.
    BellaSita Mum has mee own Condo mee can go out inn an mee iss safe….
    Iss so weerd….inn U-Kay an Aussie-stralia CATSS roam inn purrpetuity….
    Iss there a happy middle ground???
    ***purrss*** BellaDharma

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always easier to place blame on a scapegoat (scapecat?) than solving a problem in the right way. I had a good impression of Germany and its approach to animals, but this news is very disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Idiots one and all! Keep your cats in and get them spayed/neutered! Oh those poor kitties! I bet Buddy is upset like Spunkmeyer is too!
    It makes me CRY! I LOVE ALL ANIMALS but.kitties mostly! I try to paint them often! Like BooBoo who we lost in 2019. (She was handicapped and no one wanted her but we did! She lived 12 and a half years, happyI want to do Spunkmeyer next and that will be fun! I hope have a couple of larger fan brushes for fur! He has a BUNCH of it! I am so glad that you and Buddy Senior. Love kitties!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome, what medium do you use to paint your cats? I’d love to see your BooBoo painting if you’ve got a photo of it online.

      My position has always been that keeping cats indoors is win-win: The cats live healthier and much longer lives, while the birders and people who love small wildlife are mollified.

      But it kills me to see so many misguided policies based on the same old debunked “studies” by the same group of birders and wildlife biologists whose goal is to eradicate cats.

      Cats are sentient, thinking, feeling beings. They have the innocence and emotional intelligence of children. It’s cruel and inhuman to kill them for any reason.


  4. I agree with this 100%.
    I have been a proponent of keeping cats indoors simply for their own safely & longevity since the early 80’s when it was a very unpopular topic. I felt this way due to working in animal rescue & seeing so much cruelty which has only increased today.
    These current day plans to kill cats to save wild birds & other wildlife are based on flawed information (Imo) and are essentially cruel and inhumane. You pointed this out!
    The email failed to mention New Zealand which was one of the first countries that has enacted a plan to try to eradicate all feral or outdoor cats. I believe that they started the trend and Australia followed suit.
    I don’t believe it will happen on a large scale here in the US since there are so many animal rights groups here. Additionally in almost every state & county there are TNR groups operating and cat colonies with people feeding these feral cats and helping them to survive.
    The trend today in the US is to move away from the large scale euthanasia of cats
    (& dogs) of the past and to a more humane world.
    Finally I want to add that I love birds and wildlife as much as anyone. I feed them every day. However I believe it’s wrong to kill off one species to save another species.
    It’s a hunter mentality. Just one example would be: The Fish & Wildlife Service condones the killing of wolves in and around Yellowstone (predators) so that there are more prey species (this is not my opinion –
    It is a fact).
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

    Liked by 1 person

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