There is no veterinary clinic in Salzburg that is on call 24 hours a day, and the veterinary practices lack the staff for round-the-clock services. The Salzburg Animal Rescue is now going on the offensive and has collected more than 3,000 signatures with the aim of getting the city senate to deal with the issue.
Thursday morning at 10 a.m., two- and four-legged friends came to the office of Mayor Harald Preuner (ÖVP) to hand over the signatures of more than 3,000 concerned Salzburg residents who are demanding better veterinary emergency care.
“It’s a matter of life and death”
“You have a pet and you want to help him in an emergency, but you can’t because there is no doctor. Sometimes it’s life and death. And politicians should think twice about their decisions – after all, 30 percent of voters have a pet at home,” says Alexandra Öttl, a dog owner from the city of Salzburg.
It is also often difficult for animal rescue services to find a veterinarian in Salzburg in an emergency, complains Oswin Mair from the Salzburg Animal Rescue Service. “On weekends and at night we have the problem of where to take the animal. We can be reached 24 hours a day, but there is no 24-hour emergency service. That’s the problem,” says Mair.
Animal Rescue requires 24-hour pet emergency call
Animal rescue is therefore calling for a state- and city-controlled 24-hour pet emergency call. Salzburg’s Mayor Harald Preuner is basically willing to talk, but also demands initiative from the veterinarians.
“If it is, the city and state of Salzburg always have to help out. I have no idea how many resident veterinarians there are in the city and state of Salzburg. They would just have to sit down and talk about how they could organize a bike for weekend and night emergency services, for example, says Preuner.
Preuner: “There has to be a suggestion”
“You could set up a telephone answering service, for example, and many other things. There has to be a suggestion for it, and then we’ll see if we can make anything available for it at all – and if so, on what scale,” adds the mayor.
Everyone agrees that the situation is currently unsatisfactory – as well as the fact that the problem cannot be solved with money alone. On the one hand, there are far too few trained veterinarians and, on the other hand, labor law makes it difficult to work at night or on weekends.
Weekend emergency service ring as a first step
As a first step, an emergency service ring for weekends has now been set up, says the spokeswoman for the vets in the city of Salzburg, Kerstin Pabst. “This new offer was set up in cooperation with Bavarian colleagues. At least weekends and public holidays should be insured from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. With this emergency service bike, we were initially trying to secure a certain basic supply for such emergencies.
This is a first acute measure, adds Pabst. “It would be desirable to have a 24-hour veterinary clinic with the appropriate staff and equipment. That would be a very, very big step towards improving care.” Veterinary clinic or paid on-call service: It remains to be seen whether the signatures collected can contribute to a solution and – above all – what such a solution could look like.
Better animal emergency care called for
With a petition and more than 3,000 signatures already collected, the Salzburg Animal Rescue is fighting for better care in emergencies at night and at weekends.