Thousands of pets taken in by animal charities in Spain each year

Thousands of pets taken in by animal charities in Spain each year

MORE than 138,000 cats and dogs were taken in by animal shelters in Spain last year.

For 20 years the Affinity Foundation (Fundación Affinity) had carried out an annual survey on the abandonment and adoption of pets in Spain.

According to its latest report 104,688 dogs and 33,719 cats were admitted to shelters. The organisation’s director, Isabel Buil, said: “It is a high figure that worries us.” The numbers have remained virtually unchanged for the past three years, which is seen as extremely worrying as the situation is not improving.

Unwanted litters are the main reason for abandonment (15.3 per cent), followed by the end of the hunting season (12.6 per cent). This year, unlike last year, the behaviour of the dog or cat has been the third reason given for abandonment of pets (10.8 per cent), while economic factors were relegated to fourth place (10.7 per cent).

“Undoubtedly, to prevent the problem of abandonment it is key to think before accepting into our family a pet; to train them to improve their behaviour, sterilize them so that they do not have offspring that we cannot maintain.”

“In other words, to make sure that we are prepared for them to be part of our home,” said Isabel.

Microchipping is considered a key strategy in the Affinity study, as 61.1 per cent of lost animals carrying microchips could be returned to their families. In 2007 the number of animals identified was 18.4 per cent compared to 34.3 per cent this year.

In general, both the dogs (73.1 per cent) and the cats (58.3per cent) collected are in good health. Size is a factor to consider, as small dogs suffer less abandonment and loss.

The length of stay of animals in shelters has decreased with regard to previous years, especially if they are puppies.

Isabel added: “We should be breaking myths such as that an adult dog or cat will not adapt to a new family. Adopting adult or senior animals can be an excellent option.”

When it comes to adopting a pet, most people who take this step do so because they feel sorry for abandoned animals (39.5 per cent), because they are part of an animal charity (21.6 per cent) or because of recommendations from friends and acquaintances (14.4 per cent).

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