Palma.—A study on domestic animals undertaken by the Natura Parc foundation, details of which were released yesterday, has highlighted the fact that owners frequently don't know how to look after their pets and fail to treat their animals correctly.

But also, said the foundation in its report, there are insufficient bylaws governing pet owner obligations and it is the combination of lack of responsibility and lack of policy that has given rise to the increase in the number of abandoned animals
Natura Parc said that a major problem facing organisations, such as refuge centres, coping with burgeoning numbers of lost, stray and abandoned animals, is the lack of identification, particularly in the case of dogs. Although microchipping in dogs and horses is obligatory, only 30 percent of abandoned dogs are found to have been correctly chipped.

Javier Alvarez, the secretary of Natura Parc, said yesterday that owners need to be given the chance to comply with the law as has already been done in Manacor and Santa Margalida where in just 4 days, 355 microchips were inserted in pets at a price owners could afford.

The President of Natura Parc, Antoni Mas, wanted the public to become aware of the importance of microchipping as a means of identification. He claimed that in Germany and Belgium, 100'000 dogs are abandoned every year. The difference between these two countries and the Balearics is that all pets are microchipped and animals are left in official protection centre, not “dumped at the roadside” as they are here.

Although the number of abandoned pets in the Balearic Islands is on the increase, the Natura Parc foundation is campaiging to encourage people to adopt pets from the protection centres where they are cared for as an interim measure. The foundation has a number of websites providing information on how to go about finding a lost pet and on the procedure for adopting one.

Since the beginning of the year, the foundation has successfully returned or given over for adoption 63 percent of the animals housed in its refuges.

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