PALMA City Council is launching a campaign this Christmas to raise public awareness about the folly of purchasing a pet as a present if the receiver is not in a position to look after it for the rest of its life. “We're not just a present for the day,” is the theme of the operation which also aims to educate the very young in what has to be done to look after a pet. The Council has published 10'000 leaflets and other advertising material giving information on basic pet care such as the need for veterinary care and vaccinations, sterilisation, and how the pet will be looked after in the event of the owner or the owning family going away on holiday. The educational literature will be available for anyone interested from veterinary clinics and town council offices. Pere Morey, head of the abandoned animal care centre at Son Reus, said that once people had made the decision to invest in a household pet, he would urge them to consider the possibility of adopting one from the centre. Figures show that the issue of abandoned pets is still high on the agenda with 6'470 animals ending up at the refuge during 2006. Of the total, 4'565 were dogs and 1'538 were cats. This number is significant considering that Madrid, as the capital city of Spain registered a total of 4'500 abandoned pets during the same year. However, it has to be remembered that the Son Reus refuge gives shelter to animals from all over the Island, not just Palma..One of the key services provided by the Son Reus refuge is to provide animals for adoption. If creatures do not find alternative homes, they will eventually be put down. It is between the months of May and September when the number of pets left to fend for themselves surges significantly. Of the 4'565 dogs which ended up at the refuge last year, 751 were animals which had become lost and were then successfully returned to their original owners. In order to track down a pet, the owner must have a microchip secured on the creature to enable future detection and identification. There are a number of privately run centres which cater for abandoned pets but the one at Son Reus is the only one which will accept animals from all over the Island. Pere Morey would like to see more support from other districts which send abandoned pets to Son Reus.


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