Authorities in the city of Walldorf in southwestern Germany have ordered some cat owners to keep their pets indoors until the end of August, to protect a rare bird during the breeding season.
The decree is intended to help save the crested lark, which makes its nest on the ground and is therefore easy prey for cat hunters.
The bird population in Western Europe has dropped dramatically over the past few decades.
“Among other things, the survival of the species depends on every single chick,” the Walldorf authorities said.
The decree applies to all cats in the southern part of the country and will be repeated for the next three years.
The regional newspaper Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung reported Wednesday that the head of the local animal protection association plans to take legal steps to challenge the “disproportionate” order.