THERE have been impassioned please on behalf of dogs, maltreated in Majorca. For nearly 25 years, I have given this some thought and I write about rural life. Naturally, as a doctor, my duty lies with the wounded, the sick and suffering human beings, and of course, I look after our pets. But may I put forward some points.
When we arrived in Mancor del Valle, the civil war and Franco had not been forgotten. For the lifetime of the village, poverty, vandals and robber bands had dominated rural life. There were very few cars and the normal way to get the four kilometres into Inca for the market occasionally was by donkey cart. We had no running water, no drains, and children did go to school for six years out of sixteen, decided by parents, when they were not required to work in the fields.
Tourism and EU money have altered everything. But you cannot change the culture of a country, largely illiterate, by a stroke of the pen.
There were no pets when we arrived. Dogs were kept, unmercifully to our mind, chained up in fincas up the mountains to protect the chickens from being slaughtered by the wild genetas. Yes, they were fed occasionally, and chained up they did not always keep the pests away. Like foxes in England, there was not only the fear of rabies, but also the fact that they slaughtered twenty chickens when they only ate one.
Now there are pets being kept. These are fed and even taken to the vet. But the novelty of pets for children, is very much still a novelty. They are frequently abandoned. There is no licensing; we have no inspectors or police, a trip to Inca to see a vet for spaying female dogs or cats, was too expensive and is not in their way of thinking. Meantime, yes, stray animals wander around and make a mess breaking open kitchen waste bags.
Writing to English newspapers cannot alter the mindset of natives who amongst themselves only speak Majorcan, and don't read the newspapers anyway. I am not a politician, but so many people write letters complaining without suggesting a good medicine for the complaint. Occasionally, although I spoke no Castillian until I came here, I have written to Ministries in that language and to Spanish papers, others could do the same. Perhaps the RSPCA knows how to alter traditional habits of populations where survival was not easy.
Dr. George Giri, Mancor del Valle
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