Residents have complained about the cats inside the school grounds. | Archive

The Balearic government's environmental health service has given its support to Bunyola town hall's attempts to control stray cats. The local authority acted after residents complained that colonies of cats were taking over public areas and, in particular, the play areas at the Mestre Colom primary school.

The colony in the vicinity of the school, which was authorised by the town hall, has an "excessive number of animals", according to a report from the environmental health service. There is reference to the health risk to pupils and residents posed by animals in play areas as well as on private property. This is due to "the possibility of transmission of certain diseases as well as the resultant unhealthy conditions and inconvenience caused".

This particular colony, the report adds, "does not appear to be subject to any type of veterinary or sanitary control and nor is the sterilisation of all the animals guaranteed". The environmental health service is therefore urging the town hall to initiate the pertinent corrective actions and "to limit and control the total number of animals in the colony and to remove excess animals". It is also urging the town hall to relocate the colony away from the school, to clean and disinfect it regularly and to ensure there is veterinary control.

These are measures that the town hall had started to implement before receiving the endorsement of the environmental health service report, and they are ones that have caused an outcry among animal rights groups in Bunyola, who accuse the mayor, Andreu Bujosa, and deputy mayor, Sandra Llop, of having instructed Natura Parc (in Santa Eugenia) to hunt and put down cats after having previously ordered their sterilisation. "For a town hall to spend taxpayer money on sterilising cats and then spend more on hiring Natura Parc to slaughter these same cats is wasteful and nonsensical," states the Moixos, Moixons i Moixonies association.