Staff reporter
THE owners of three out of every four dogs in Palma have not met legal requirements, either by failing to register their pets or by not arranging to have the animal fitted with an identification ”chip”. The United Left/Green party coalition presented a report yesterday outlining the lamentable state of affairs. At the next meeting of the Palma city council, they intend to put forward a motion that stricter controls be enforced to ensure owners take proper responsibility for their pets.

The report revealed that there are some 100'000 dogs within Palma's municipal boundaries, of which only 24'000 are correctly registered with an implanted identification chip. This leaves some 76'000 as “unlawful”. These figures contrast sharply with separate sets of data that show that during the past six months, a mere 23 penalties were imposed on owners whose dogs weren't carrying the chip. According to the United Left/Green party, it reflected the scant “attention” that the council has paid to making sure pet owners fall in line with the law. This apparent lack of interest on the part of the city council in ensuring by-laws are adhered to, is also suggested by the fact that during the same period, there has “only” been one charge brought to bear for pet abandonment, in spite of the fact that every year, 5'000 abandoned animals are put to death. Speaking specifically about licences for owning pets described as “dangerous”, the United Left/Green Party representatives affirmed that 96 permits are held in Palma entitling people to own such breeds. Even though there is no record of a single owner being brought to book for failure to apply for the necessary licence, there are an indeterminate number of these dogs in Palma. Similarly, the coalition is complaining that “only” 11 penalties have been recorded against owners who allow their animals to foul city streets, 31 for not having their dogs on a lead, 11 for failure to control unacceptable barking, 15 for failure to have their pets vaccinated, 3 for keeping animals in insanitary conditions and one for keeping a dog without a kennel. The coalition said it would appear that a certain sense of “being above the law” is rife among the citizens of Palma, freeing them from complying with pet-owning by-laws.

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