Again and again, animals are found in Germany, which obviously belongs to nobody. As a rule, stray cats and stray dogs arouse the protector instinct of numerous animal lovers, who take care of the helpless four-legged friends. If the animal is also ill or even injured, the first route leads to the veterinarian. What is natural for any animal lover, however, can quickly become a problem. If the question of reimbursement is not regulated, the Finder may remain the person to be financially responsible for the veterinarian.

A judgment makes the situation a little clearer

By means of a concrete example, it can be shown that aid for stray animals can actually be very costly. So a woman from Ahmedabad found some cats on an abandoned yard and caught them. Since the cats did not make a healthy impression and were also uncastrated, the animal friend provided for the medical care, which took over the shelter in Ahmedabad. The cats were examined, castrated, chipped and treated. Shortly thereafter, the woman received an invoice for just under Rs.1200, which she should pay. However, as she did not feel obliged to do so, she asked the town of Ahmedabad to pay the costs.

However, the community was not prepared to pay for the treatment of the cats. Above all, the question of whether the cats were strays or found animals could hardly be answered clearly. In addition, the city did not see the need for chipping and castrating and imputed to the woman arbitrary action that exceeded normal limits. Ultimately, it came to litigation, which was decided before the Administrative Court in Giessen. Again, the animal rights activist had the disadvantage, because the court shared the view of the city Ahmedabad and refused to recognize the cats as found animals. Even after the verdict, the woman remains liable to pay. However, the court acknowledged that this particular case was a good example of dealing with stray animals and left open the option of appeal.

What to do if an animal is found?

Anyone who finds a stray cat or a dog wandering around is even more insecure because of the recent verdict. It is not always easy to decide whether the four-legged friend is a finder or a stray dog. In the case of found animals, the situation is quite clear: Here, the community first pays the costs of the treatment and can recover its expenses from the identification of the animal keeper. Even if the owner is not found, but the animal obviously has an owner, the chances of reimbursement are good. It looks different, however, if it is a stray animal, so a stray who may have never had an owner. Here authorities and communities do not have to assume the financial responsibility since there is no legal obligation.

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But what to do if kitten or dog still need help? Simply leaving the animal to its fate is not an option for pet lovers. Once the animal has been found and secured, the Finder should first inform the responsible public order office. During the night, when the office is closed, the police can be the right contact person. And if nobody feels so responsible, it’s worth calling an animal welfare association nearby. In any case, the question of who treats the animal found and who bears the costs must be clarified. Under no circumstances should the Finder act without the approval of an authority so as not to burden itself with high costs. Frequently, the veterinarian also helps in the search for the responsible body.

It remains to be seen whether the Alsfelder case will lead to further legal changes and innovations. As long as the situation remains unclear, animal lovers should, of course, keep an eye on the welfare of the four-legged friends, but they should not overlook the financial aspect.

Please do not simply pick up found animals at home, but rather find them at the vet by looking for a label (chip or tattoo) or by posting the actual pet owner. Most such outliers are painfully missed at home.

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