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Thousands of dogs roam every year on the roads of our country - Ángel de Antonio
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Thousands of dogs roam every year on the roads of our country - Ángel de Antonio

The main causes of animal abandonment in Spain

More than 137,000 animals are collected from the street, of which 33,335 correspond to cats and 104,447 to dogs.



"Mom, I want a Pomeranian," Javi asked his mother. "A Pomeranian? You didn't say you didn't like small dogs?" She replied. "Do you remember Cuqui, Francisca's dog, Grandma's neighbor?" It scared you a lot, he growled, you called him an angry man. Cuqui was a Pomeranian, ”he added. "It's not the same," he replied, "Isco, the Real Madrid player, has a Pomeranian, his name is Bubu and Facebook's most famous dog, Boo, is another ..." he continued. «There will be no Pomeranian, Javier, or Pomeranian, or Pomeranian. Take it out of your head, ”his mother cut from the roots. At the same time, in a place not far from their homes, a few kilometers away, Tula, six years old, with brown hair and five puppies, is abandoned to her fate with her recent litter.

As with Javi this is the daily bread of many families. Children who ask for a puppy for Christmas, who want to have the mascot of their favorite soccer players. Girls who want the Barbie chihuahua or the most adorable puppy in the nets ... Children who ask and parents, who unlike Javi's mother, consent. As for dogs, many Spaniards do not know the existence of canine residences or think they are too expensive. And taking them to an animal shelter means giving too many explanations. The solution is much simpler: get in the car, get away, get out of the car and run. As easy as macabre.


Two huskies, waiting to be adopted - EFE

And so it happens, hundreds of dogs wander baffled on the roads of our country every year. Exhausted Following the line of asphalt for which its owners left. The same ones who abandoned them. Because of course, seeing our pet in the rearview mirror, running behind our car, which will probably be the last race of his life towards us, is very easy to forget. In 2016, more than 137,000 animals were collected, of which 33,335 correspond to cats and 104,447 to dogs.


«Sometimes, when you have animals without sterilization, they escape», tells us Paloma Sánchez Fúnez, veterinarian of the Caramuel Clinic in Madrid, «they have a litter and their owners, instead of worrying about finding a home for those puppies, giving them away or even sell them, they decide to throw them away, ”he adds. The Affinity Foundation also positions unwanted litters as the main reason for animal abandonment. In 2008, 156,858 street animals were collected and in 2014 more than 140,000. Lower the number of lost pets that are returned to their owners and coincide with the arrival to the protectors of more unidentified dogs and cats.


How are the animals collected in the street?

Very few of the animals found on the street are identified. In the case of dogs they add 30%, while cats do not exceed 2%. Unlike what is thought, most of the animals that are abandoned are healthy. Only 32% correspond to sick or injured, often due to the same abandonment.

«When they leave it there, to their own survival, the animal can suffer from everything. Atropellos, people who try to mistreat them, who are poisoned ... Everything, "explains Paloma. In addition, oddly enough, the numbers of thoroughbred dogs that are left to their free will have increased (19%). «Lately they are also abandoning purchased animals, with pedigree. Breed animals for which a lot of money has been paid, ”says the veterinarian.


Animals that have spent more time on the street are usually more nervous

Beyond these statistical data, the animals bought and adopted are practically equal to each other. In the words of the expert: «I have dealt with animals bought and adopted. There is no difference », and adds:« Some of those who have spent more time on the street tend to be more nervous and fearful, but with a little patience they become very docile and good ». It should be noted that many times those that are bought in an animal shop have worse behavior than those that are collected from the street, although it depends on the education they receive from the owner.

“Generally the type of person who pays for an animal, usually has it more spoiled and therefore, has worse behavior. Although this is not always the case, ”he concludes. Both the Affinity Foundation and the veterinary, place the behavior as one of the main reasons for abandonment. Many times it is the owner himself who spoiled the animal and it begins to have behavioral problems.

“There are people who think about sacrificing their pet, simply because they growl,” says Paloma, “some animals are anxious and destroy things when they are left alone and this happens due to lack of of exercise, ”he says. To avoid these situations, the specialist proposes to go to the ethologist. An ethologist is not a trainer, it is a veterinarian specialized in animal behavior that will solve our pet's behavioral problems in a healthy way. «The easy thing is to leave it, leave it on the street and if it dies I have not seen it. It seems that when you don't see something, it hasn't happened, but it really does, ”concludes the expert.


They forgive

Some might think that an animal that has suffered a lot, that has been betrayed by its owner and that they have abandoned in any ditch would not be able to be happy again. Nothing is further from reality. Animals, especially dogs, trust and have a love for people that no other animal has. They forgive and forget them. Simply by giving them love and time they are completely happy.

In a house, abandoned animals will always be happier than in a protective

«At the beginning they miss their other family but at the moment they see that they are not there and someone else takes care of them, protects them and gives them food, they establish a very close relationship, let's say they fall in love with their new owner» , says Paloma.

Cats, solitary animals and more arcane than dogs by nature, are a little more reluctant at first but they are also quite grateful. "There are many stray cats that at first are elusive and do not trust but then become loves," he says, "it depends on each animal that is more brave or less, but of course, in a house everyone will be happy one hundred percent" , the animal health specialist ends.


Whims without awareness

People still give away animals as if they were toys, something material, when they really are living beings. A dog needs care and expenses. Vaccines, walks, cleaning, food, toys and investing time in your education. He is another member of the family who demands to think about him when planning a vacation or even a simple movie trip. It implies having patience and responsibility.

"Many people think that a puppy is like a stuffed animal," says Paloma, "and that it does not require any responsibility or sacrifice on your part, but that it will simply be there, you play with it for a little while and then forget it," Add. The veterinarian proposes to educate from below, the small children who ask for the puppy. "It is very important that you do not indulge when you know that you will not take care of them," he ends.


Fashions and mafias

Returning to the conversation of Javi and his mother, doggy fashions have come out to shine. What is this doggy fashions? Well, practically buying you a dog like the one that buys a bag or a coat. And not only treating animals as if they were things instead of living beings, but also that there is a boom and a demand for a particular breed makes breeders cross many animals that have the same kinship, which implies that there is more consanguinity and therefore, that alterations and health problems appear. "In the end what is being done is to favor diseases in these animals," explains the specialist, "I feel very sorry."

Unfortunately, bad hatcheries abound in our country. Here we have our own national mafia responding to fashion demands. "It seems that money is the only thing that throws and people lose scruples and do what needs to be done," says the veterinarian. "It is very difficult to find hatcheries that do it well, most are very trapicheros and do anything, cross animals that have diseases and do not care, sell them equally," he adds.


Overcrowding in kennels is very common - ABC

The method of breeding is as simple as keeping bitches of the most sought-after breeds continuously pregnant, without waiting for the relevant periods between pregnancies and weaning the puppies long before the appropriate. Many also falsify their passports and birth dates to be able to transport them to other European countries. “There are also animals that are exported from other places that come in bad conditions, Paloma explains, they sell them for a lot of money when they have cost them nothing in stores and don't care if they die. They say they offer you another, and with that who is sick, what do they do? There is a lot of scoundrel.


Against expensive treatments there is a solution

Another of the factors that lead the ranking of the main reasons for abandonment is economic. There are many families who say they cannot cope with the expenses of a medical intervention and decide to abandon the animal.

Paloma proposes some solutions to this problem, "I recommend making pet insurance, there are plenty of them and they cover medical expenses." And above all, before curing, prevent. «Heeding the recommendations of the protectors and veterinarians avoids future problems».

For larger and more expensive operations, such as spinal surgery of an animal that has been left quadriplegic or similar cases, many veterinarians for empathy make discounts, most clinics fund treatments and also the center itself tries to raise money with donations of other patients and by organizing solidarity events. "You always try to help as much as possible," he adds, "but people have to do their part."


Translated from ABC MASCOTTAS