In Stark Contrast to Ailurophobic America, Ziegelchen's Illegal Trapping by a Gardener in Altstädten-Burbach Is Roundly Condemned in Deutschland
"Glücklicherweise stand die Falle so nah am Zaun, dass wir den Kater befreien konnten."
-- Monika Schwibbert
A gray-striped tomcat known as Ziegelchen from the Altstädten-Burbach section of Hürth in Rhein-Erft-Kreis recently had a narrow escape after he was trapped by yet still another cat-hating gardener. This illegal and totally uncalled for precipitate action allegedly was undertaken because he had been using the man's garden as a makeshift toilet.
Ziegelchen owes his salvation to the prompt and decisive action taken by his devoted caretakers, Monika Schwibbert and Marcus Breinig, after he failed to return home one morning. Immediately mounting a search, they were able to trace his plaintive cries for help to their neighbor's garden where they found him cruelly imprisoned in a trap.
"Glücklicherweise stand die Falle so nah am Zaun, dass wir den Kater befreien konnten," Schwibbert recalled for the benefit of the Sonntags Post of Frechen on August 19th. (See "Ziegelchen auf Abwegen.")
In addition to the trap being situated close to the fence, it also was a good thing that the cat-hater was not around at that hour. (See photo above of Breinig pointing to the location of the trap.)
Although it is not known how long Ziegelchen had been confined to the snare, he easily could have spent the entire night incarcerated. Fortunately, summers in Nordrhein Westfalen are not anywhere near as torrid as those in Visalia, California, and Ziegelchen therefore was rescued unharmed. (See Cat Defender post of August 23, 2010 entitled "Valley Oak SPCA Kills a Cat by Allowing It to Languish in the Heat in an Unattended Trap for Five Days at the Tulare County Courthouse.")
Leider, Ziegelchen's misadventure was not an accident; im Gegenteil, the trap was set especially for him and Schwibbert and Breinig's neighbor from Hölle is not about to relent. "So lange Ihre Katze auf mein Grundstück geht und dahin scheißt, werde ich diese Katze bekämpfen," he reportedly swore in Breinig's face.
In fact, the trap used to corral Ziegelchen was at last report still in situ in his garden and presumably baited. (See photo below.)
Additional fireworks are almost certainly guaranteed since Schwibbert and Breinig do not have any intention of cruelly and inhumanely locking up Ziegelchen inside and their neighbor apparently is too cheap to invest in any of the myriad of readily available nonlethal methods, such as ultrasound, of keeping cats out of gardens. "Unser Kater is gewohnt, draußen, rumzulaufen," they told the Sonntags Post. "Wie sollen wir dem beibringen, dass er ausgerechnet in den Garten unseres Nachbarn nicht rein darf?"
Being for the most part a nation of enlightened animal lovers, the Germans recognize that cats have a right to be outside and to do a certain amount of unescorted roaming. "Wenn Katzen einmal Freigänger sind, kann man die nicht einfach so drinnen halten," Hanni Schäfer of Tierheim Helenenhof in Hürth told the Sonntags Post in the article cited supra.
Furthermore, since cats are considered under the law to be private property, she draws the only logical conclusion possible from Ziegelchen's trapping. "Das ist ja wie Diebstahl!" she added.
Schwibbert and Breinig also have the nation's leading animal protection organization, the Deutschen Tierschutzbund in Bonn, on their side. "Eine Lebendfalle darf grundsätzlich nicht gezielt eingesetzt werden, um Katzen zu fangen," the group's Marion Dudla told the Sonntags Post.
Even on those rare occasions where cats are trapped accidentally they must be promptly released otherwise their captors are in violation of the Tierschutzgesetz. It therefore is clear that Schwibbert and Breinig have just cause to haul their cat-hating neighbor into court and make him pay for his illegal incarceration of Ziegelchen.
Being old hands at settling disputes between gardeners and cat-owners, this is an issue that is right up the alley of German jurists. "In der Regel sagen die Richter, dass man bis zu zwei Katzen in seinem Garten tolerieren muss," Dudla told the Sonntags Post. That is especially true in rural and suburban areas.
As a practical matter, however, the German authorities attempt to get the warring parties to agree to mediation and for gardeners to adopt nonlethal methods of deterring unwanted cats. Regardless of whether these disputes are settled in court or by mediation the gold standard always is the same: gardeners are not allowed under any circumstances to either steal or harm their neighbors' cats.
Zum Beispiel, back in December of last year Dr. Claus Kallenberg of the Amt für Verbraucherschutz, Veterinärwesen und Lebensmittelüberwachung in Bergheim was called upon to mediate a heated dispute between an unidentified gardener in the Niederembt section of Elsdorf, also in Rhein-Erft-Kreis, and Manuela Lisken's cat. In order to deter her cat, he had set out a Nagelbrett in his yard.
When ordered to remove it by Kallenberg, he responded by replacing it with a board studded with mousetraps. In ordering that the mousetraps also be removed Kallenberg recognized that although gardeners have a right to keep out unwanted cats they must at the same time use nonlethal methods in order to achieve that objective.
"Man kann Vorkehrungen treffen, aber dadurch dürfen kein Tiere verletzt werden," he ruled on that occasion. (See Cat Defender post of June 10, 2010 entitled "Cat-Hating Gardener in Nordrhein Westfalen Is Told by the Local Authorities to Remove a Board of Nails from His Yard.")
In the United States, the story is altogether different. Gardeners, birders, wildlife biologists, and other ailurophobes are allowed to trap their neighbors' cats with impunity. They then most often transport them to animal shelters who obligingly kill them upon sight.
That is exactly what happened recently in Saginaw, Michigan, where a real estate tycoon trapped two of his neighbors' cats and in turn gave them to Saginaw County Animal Care and Control (SCACC) to kill. Not only did both he and SCACC escape prosecution, but their lawless and inhumane conduct was lauded to high heaven by the editors of The Saginaw News. (See Cat Defender post of August 19, 2010 entitled "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw.")
Quite obviously, anyone expecting a majority of Americans to ever develop an ounce of regard for animals, the environment, and even their fellow man is asking too much of them. Their accounts all have been zeroed out and they have nothing left to give; they accordingly are capable of only stealing, destroying, and killing.
Photos: Sonntags Post.