All of Majorca's dog homes and pounds are braced for the annual influx of abandoned pets, many of which will be given away as presents and then discarded along with the empty boxes and wrapping paper of the gifts people want to keep. The cruel and sad reality is that Palma city council is ready for a sharp increase in abandoned pets and the sharp rise in the number of unwanted pets this time of year will only come as a tragic reminder of just how necessary charitable organisations such as the Centro Canino in Palma are - but equally sad is that the home for dogs and cats is fighting for a new home of its own too. In 1998 the total number of abandoned pets taken to the Municipal Animal Protection Centre at Son Reus was 921. Last year that figure ballooned to 1'455 and this year, the council dog catchers have picked 1'739 off the streets, 19.5 percent more than last year. But even more concerning is that so far this year, 3'765 pets have been handed in to the centre, much more that the 2'991 registered last year. Of the 3'765, 2'839 are dogs, 832 cats and the rest a variety of animals including birds. Just under half of the pets at the centre are caught on the streets of Palma and have either been abandoned, are very young or lost, but over half are handed over to the centre by their owners. This year there has been a ten percent increase in the number of owners abandoning their pets at the Son Reus Animal Protection Centre. Despite the Balearics being gripped by xenophobia over dangerous dogs following a number of attacks, one of which proved fatal, just 54 of the dogs taken in this year have been because of one form of incident. But while the number of incoming pets has increased, so too has the number of out going animals heading for new homes. Two years ago just 298 pets were given new homes, this year however, the figure has risen to 497 - albeit rather insignificant to the increasing number of pets abandoned.