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Dog, cat, rabbit: MDR “exactly” about the pet boom in times of Corona

MDR Mitteldeuscher Rundfunk

Leipzig (ots)

They were the perfect lockdown companions: pets. But now a wave of returns follows; Problem dogs, “cat gluts,” and overcrowded animal shelters are the result. For the MDR series “exactly”, reporter Viktoria Schackow asked people who is paying for the rise of pets and its consequences. The new episode of the MDR young reportage format can be seen from Monday, March 28 at 8 am in the ARD media library and from 5 pm on the YouTube channel “MDR Investigative”.

“We have to juggle to sink the animals. The sale of animals from private homes has increased enormously. Many people bought a pet during the pandemic without being sure of the consequences”, says Regina Barthel-Marr. She is the president of the Freital Animal Welfare Association and runs the animal shelter near Dresden. If hostels initially benefited from the boom, they are now freezing admissions here and there. There is no place for new animals. There is no money for houses anymore. And that despite the fact that in 2020 there was a record dog tax in Germany of around 380 million euros. At the same time, urgently needed donations are falling.

In the spring of 2020, cats and small animals in particular found new owners. Anything that was quickly ordered online is often returned here and there. Or it becomes a problem that others have to pay for. Like Claudia Lange, who trains the troublesome dog Balu every day. The French bulldog was a typical “crown puppy” that overwhelmed the family that bought him. Many people underestimated the cost and time it takes to have pets when returning to normal work. In 2020, the number of registered dogs in Germany alone increased by more than 30,000. Claudia Lange is now breeding the “crown dog” in Magdeburg: “Balu knew no rest, no rules, no limits. Of course, that leads to 1001 problems.” That’s why she regularly seeks help at Nadine Liebert’s dog school. The dog trainer in Magdeburg feels the consequences of the pet boom: “I have to offer a lot less group lessons and a lot more individual training to meet the changing needs of dogs and their masters and ladies.”

The most popular pet in Germany has been the cat for years. The German Animal Welfare Association warns of a “glut of cats” and speaks of an increase of 1 million cats in German households by the year 2020. “Absolute madness”, says Tobias Krüger. On his Instagram account @, the proud cat owner shares photos of his cat “Malia” with 130,000 followers and earns money from it. “Since Corona, we have received many more inquiries about having cats,” says the Leipzig petfluencer. He also wants to do some educational work on the account and make those interested in cats aware of the issue.

Of course, there are many people who really put a lot of effort into their new animal inhabitants. But what about impulse pet purchases? Is a new generation of problem dogs growing up? How are animal shelters coping with the wave of returns? How can you prevent impulse buying in the future?

Press contact:

Thomas Ahrens, state radio station MDR Saxony-Anhalt, press and public relations, Tel. (0391) 539 21 21, email:, Twitter: @MDRpresse

Original content from: MDR Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, broadcast by news aktuell

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