The district office of the Rhein-Neckar district (Baden-Württemberg) has imposed a fine of 500 euros on a cat owner for the first time.

The reason is that the district had imposed a ban on cats going out - to protect the endangered bird species crested lark.

The ban applies to a breeding area for the birds in the south of the city of Walldorf from April to August.

Cats must be kept on a short leash in the area.

The cat owner is said to have violated the curfew.

A private company has been commissioned to monitor the ban.

The FDP parliamentary group in the Baden-Württemberg state parliament doubts the legality of the nationwide unique procedure.

The FDP therefore commissioned the state data protection officer to check whether the private company commissioned with the crested lark monitoring is allowed to collect data about cat owners at all and pass it on to the district office.