A total of 104,447 dogs and 33,335 cats were taken into care by Animal Protection Agencies in Spain last year, according to an ‘Affinity Foundation Study on abandonment and adoption of animals,’ which warns that the figure of abandonment is now stable and is likely to remain at a similar level in 2017. They also add that they consider the figure to be far too high.

Among the main reasons the figure is so high, according to the report, is the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens, followed by the changeable behaviour of many dogs at the end of the hunting season.

Affinity Foundation director Isabel Buil says that the figures are disappointing, especially after the downward trend over the last eight years. She calls for a greater intervention of both the public and the private sectors, to “fight against this situation”.

The foundation has carried out studies on the abandonment of animals for the last 20 years as it works together with the Observatory of Justice and Animal Law to achieve a change in the Spanish Civil Code so that the animals cease to be considered simply as objects and more as pets.

Currently the Civil Code makes animals susceptible to misuse on the part of their owners. They are simply possessions that are owned with little consideration given to their welfare or their happiness.

Among the positive aspects, however, is that in 2016 the percentage of dogs that could be returned to their owners increased by five points to 20 percent and in the case of cats, the figure remained stable at 4 percent.

Buil has reaffirmed the importance of promoting the use of the microchip for the correct registration and identification of the animal. Currently the number of animals with microchips that arrived at animal sanctuaries is only 30% of dogs and 2% of all cats

To prevent and minimize the impact of pet abandonment, the Foundation director emphasises that identification, sterilisation and adoption are the keys factors to reducing the population of abandoned animals in the future.