Increase number of pet owners want to return adopted dogs. | Gemma Andreu


Animal Defence Associations say the number of calls from people who want to return pets they adopted during the lockdown has skyrocketed in recent weeks and they fear it’s just the start.

A number of people reportedly adopted dogs so that they could go out for walks more often during the State of Emergency but now that it’s coming to an end and most restrictions have been lifted there are concerns that an increasing numbers of dogs will be abandoned.

The Son Reus Municipal Centre claims it's seen no evidence of that happening.

Between March and May this year, 57 abandoned animals were collected and 39 others were returned to the Centre by their owners.

In April and May 2019, 77 abandoned animals were collected by Son Reus and 54 were given up.

In March 12 animals were abandoned and 26 were returned.

Rosario García, Delegate Prosecutor for the Environment in the Balearic Islands, says that so far, fears that a high number of dogs are being abandoned are not warranted.

"It does not mean that these cases won’t come out later," says García, who also pointed out that some pet owners may be forced to return their pets because they can’t afford the extra expense.

Manuel Molina, Head of the Balearic Association of Lawyers for Animal Rights, says he is conscious of the possibility that people may abandon pets adopted during the lockdown, there’s no evidence to support claims that it is already happening.

Molina said animals at Son Reus were locked in their cages for months because volunteers were not been allowed to return to the Centre until a few weeks ago, but he hopes the situation will get back to normal soon.

No adoptions

During the lockdown it was very difficult to adopt a dog because it was impossible to go to the Centres.

But there has been a significant increase in the number of calls from owners who want to return their animals and apparently most of the pet owners have asked to remain anonymous.

They always call with excuses like they are moving, as if we have noticed an increase in recent weeks," said Animal Defence Associations.

Abandoning an animal is a crime covered by the Penal Code and is punishable by a fine, but if the animal is harmed as a result of abandonment the owner could go to jail.