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German town orders cats to be kept indoors to save rare birds

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By AP
The order has reportedly generated angry hisses from cat owners in the town.
The order has reportedly generated angry hisses from cat owners in the town.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Michael Probst, File   -  

Authorities in the southwest German town of Walldorf have ordered some cat owners to keep their pets indoors until the end of August, to protect a rare bird during its breeding season.

The decree is designed to help save the crested lark, which makes its nest on the ground and is therefore easy prey for feline hunters.

The bird’s population in Western Europe has declined sharply in recent decades.

"Among other things, the survival of the species depends on every single chick," authorities in Walldorf said.

The decree applies to all cats in the southern part of the town and will be repeated for the coming three years.

Regional daily Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung reported Wednesday that the head of the local animal protection association plans to take legal steps to challenge the "disproportionate" order.