According to the organisation’s estimates, about two million stray cats and canines have been left behind by heedless people who are either overwhelmed by the task of caring for the animals or don’t take the time to find alternative care for their pets.
The animals are often abandoned at rest stops and wooded areas, where they are forced to fend for themselves, killing rabbits, birds, frogs, and lizards. Larger dogs can even kill fawns and pregnant does.
“Abandoning house pets is morally reprehensible to the highest degree,” DJV president Jochen Borchert said in a statement, adding that it is a violation of Germany’s animal protection laws punishable with fines up to a €25,000.
In addition to cats and dogs, foreign turtles and reptiles are left near water sources, threatening native fish and aquatic ecosystems, the organisation said.
This criminal behaviour by pet owners not only threatens wildlife, but subjects the abandoned animals to great suffering, it added.
“The DJV appeals to all animal owners to find suitable vacation lodging for their house pets in time,” the statement said, urging them to consider kennels or pet-sitting services.
But ultimately pet owners should consider the responsibilities that come with their new animal before taking them on, the DJV added.