THE Animal Refuge Centre run by the Palma City Council at Son Reus, has rounded up 2'953 abandoned animals this year. Of this figure, 840 were found new homes but 2'113 have either already been, or are waiting to be, put down Mayor of Palma Catalina Cirer, the head of the Environment department, Antoni Nadal, and Health director, Marina Sans, toured the centre yesterday. Apart from seeing the pets and other species kept there, the dignitaries were able to see for themselves the upkeep of the installations and to learn more of the plans for enlarging the complex. Antoni Nadal explained that the summer months traditionally bore witness to an increase in the number of abandoned animals. Since June this year, 1'287 animals have been brought to the Son Reus centre. He commented that local authorities are considering fining the owners of abandoned animals, with the lowest penalty being in the region of 300 euros.
The Mayor was keen to point out that the City Council's Animal Refuge Centre, in conjunction with the Balearic environment ministry, also provides an education function in terms of health care, animal recovery and protection of endangered species. Furthering the issue, the mayor appealed for a greater sense of responsibility from people who buy animals to be pets, as well as from those traders who sell such creatures for profit. We would ask that when someone buys an animal as a pet or receives one as a gift, that it is undertaken with appropriate responsibility. Animals are not objects that can be neatly put aside on a shelf when owners become tired of them. They are living creatures requiring food and attention, she urged. Nadal announced measures to control more carefully the sale of pets. He argued that it was at this point that most problems started.
Marina Sans, the Health director, explained that when an animal is brought to the refuge, the first step is to start with a search for its owner.
In the case of dogs and cats, the most numerous animals in such centres, the task is easier because they usually have implanted microchips.
Owners, after being notified, have eight days in which to collect their animals, and in the event of their not turning up, the pets can then be adopted by new owners. Six days is allowed for other interested parties to come forward. Failing that, when this period of time has run out, the animal will be put down.
The City Council plans to finish the enlargement of the premises of the refuge within the next two years. Initial works have already begun.
The shelters run by volunteers, such as the Sociedad Protectora and Centro Canino Internacional in Palma and Josefina's in Pollensa do not put animals down, but endeavour to find new owners.
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