Perhaps you think that Germans like animals and pets. Perhaps you think so because Hitler had a German Shepherd named Blondi. And while the Others who did not fit the Germanic-Aryan stereotype were ruthlessly discriminated, persecuted, and eliminated by Nazi Germany, animal rights (Tierschutz) laws were passed …
Today, pets have become an important part of many Germans’ lives. You either get a dog from the Tierheim (animal shelter) for a little fee or follow your eugenic inclination and buy a Rassehund for a couple thousands of Euros, complete with family tree, birth and behavior certificate, and a noble name. Of course with a pet comes responsibility–that little pup will eventually grow into a slobbering, shedding, needs-to-be-taken-for-a-walk-in-any-weather, needs-to-be-taken-to-the-doctor, needing-food-and-lots-of-it Rüde or Weibchen (unless you go for a Dackel–minus the lots of food). An always popular myth is that, with the arrival of any longer period of school holidays, people leave their unwanted dogs on Autobahn rest stops. I myself have never seen any dog tied to the side rail of a service area.
But I have seen a lot of roadkill on German streets. Just recently at night one dead fox followed by a dead hedgehog a couple hundred meters later (and fortunately a live fox not long after). Sometimes, th0ugh, you could either make a meat variety Gulasch or a creepy stuffed animal collection of the various kinds of dead Tiere on the Autobahn. Füchse, Igel, Mäusebussarde (common buzzard), European roe deer (Reh), wild hare, badgers (Dachs), … Not as many wild boar (Wildschwein), though. Because they will leave more than a bone-cracking sound in your ear and some fur and blood on your radiator grill.
Germany might be a densely-populated country, but this does not go for all regions. There are still long stretches of woods, especially in the Mittelgebirgsregionen in middle and southern Germany. Maybe you have seen funny triangular traffic symbols with a red margin and a black jumping deer in the middle. This cautions you to keep your eyes out for wild animals passing the street. While a lot of Autobahn mileage has been fenced in to keep animals off, there is still a lot of roadkill. Sometimes, a Wildbrücke (wildlife crossing) will be build. More often than not, you will see banners by Wutbürger who want one. Usually in a densely forested area. Go figure.
Although hunting has been there since like forever, it has fallen into disfavor with a lot of Germans (and I do not think this is the case because Hermann Göring was Reichsforstmeister and Reichsjägermeister–the head honcho of all German rangers and hunters, so to say). Killing animals is oh so gruesome and bloody and just plain Iiih. That hunters are needed because the impact of civilization has screwed up the whole environment–if there are no widespread natural large predators such as wolves (Wölfe) or lynxes (Luchse), who else should do the regulation?–which in turn means that humans have to take the responsibility of taking care of nature is a hard concept for some people to grasp, it seems. It also seems that depicting hunters as Bambi-killing monsters is oh-kay while munching on your Massentierhaltung-spawned Schnitzel. While there are of course those among the one or so million hunting-license holders that are just out there for the kill, a good number is more in touch with nature than the Gutmenschen–Stadtmenschen breed and has deeper appreciation for their prey–killing it yourself makes a difference from buying a sterilized and anonymized vacuumized pack of meat in the Supermarkt. And who will take care of the wild boar-gone-crazy because human garbage and climate change make them super-frisky and -fertile that plow your well-kept Rasen in your Berlin suburban garden? Bestimmt nicht policemen with pistols that do not even kill, I mean demobilize humans effectively …
And even if the lawns are well kept and the houses look tidy, there are skeletons in the closet. Or rather, missing skeletons. Or carcasses. Or at least missing cats. Most cats in Germany are allowed to get out of their “owners'” home and roam the neighborhood (I know that this is a strange concept for Americans who declaw their cats and feer feline leukemia more than hell). This, though, puts them in contact with the drivers of automobiles. But not all cats have nine lives, and not all German drivers pay attention–and some even drive over cats and other animals on purpose. Of course it is a tragedy if your family member (well, for some people pets ARE family–or at least offspring-Ersatz) does not return home, so wanted-posters are tacked on telephone poles–I mean, wanted-posters are glued onto concrete streetlight poles. I guess some missing cats are found locked away in some neighbor’s Gartenhäuschen or Geräteschuppen or garage, but most likely and unfortunately, they will be gone (either driven over or possibly shot on sight by one of those hunters who see every carnivore [stray pets, wolves, bears] as a natural enemy in the hunt for prey …).
Although I doubt that half a million cats and dogs are driven over each year. Half a million or more hedgehogs are, and there is not even a hunting season for them … They, and deer, foxes, buzzards, etc. are free all year round for car tires of all calibers.