SPANIARDS abandoned more than 98'000 dogs last year, making the country one of the worst culprits in the European Union.
In the Balearic Islands 5'800 dogs were abandoned in 2004, a similar number to 2003.
The Spanish total of abandoned dogs reached 100'800 in 2003, so there has been a slight improvement in the last year, when the figure was 98'003.
The figures were presented yesterday at a press conference held by the Director of the Affinity Foundation, Maria Azkargorta. She said that the main reason for these high numbers was not due to impulsive buying, nor the holiday season, but because of the “unwanted litters”. The Foundation has a new campaign entitled “Let yourself be loved”, which will centred in Barcelona and Madrid, two of the worst areas for abandoned pets. The message of this campaign will highlight the value of pets as the “constant source of happiness and affection”. The figures were compiled from towns and cities with more than 10'000 inhabitants and which have a dog pound, said Azkargorta. It means that real figures will be much higher, particularly for Palma, which has two active animal shelters as well as the official dog pound at Son Reus. The campaign hopes to repeat the success of past initiatives which the Foundation have carried out, such as “He would never do it. Don't abandon him”. This concentrated on the fact that dogs always give their owners unconditional love and are always loyal. The “honoured friend” of the Foundation, the TV presenter Bertin Osborne, attended the campaign presentation and highlighted the work that needs to be done, especially to educate children. Andalucia was the worst region for abandoning dogs last year, leaving 22'230 dogs on the streets.
It is necessary to make it easier to take pets to public places, like hotels and even cinemas, said Osborne. Affinity shares his view and each year publishes a Good Pet Travelling Guide, which is full of useful advice, including hotels which accept pets.