Arnberg (dpa / lnw) - The legal tug of war over Germany's only free-living bison herd continues. On Thursday, the Arnsberg Administrative Court rejected an urgent application from the Siegen-Wittgenstein district for a temporary injunction to be issued. The district wanted to persuade the sponsoring association of the species protection project to take up its obligations in the so-called release phase of the herd. However, the administrative judges are convinced that this is inadmissible because the district, as the regulatory authority, must first exhaust its own intervention and regulatory powers before appealing to a court. The district can appeal against the decision from Arnsberg at the Higher Administrative Court (OVG) of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Münster (Az.: 1 L 1228/22).
The district recently announced the completion of the project after the sponsoring association had declared the termination of the previous agreements. This was preceded by years of legal disputes up to the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe. Forest farmers from neighboring Hochsauerland had successfully sued the Bad Berleburg-based project because the animals had caused considerable damage to their beeches.
At the end of September, the district criticized the sponsoring association and spoke of a "legal trick" after it had declared the herd to be ownerless. According to the supporting association, the termination of the contract was the last chance "to give the bison in the Rothaargebirge a future in freedom". Ownership of the animals was given up, which means that the cattle were now “the responsibility of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia”. The resettlement project is to be regarded as "completed" and the association's task as "finished".