MADRID A household pet is abandoned every three minutes in Spain. That adds up to some 300,000 every year, 10,000 of them in Madrid alone (don't know/can't find figures or Andalucía - any help?). So the Federation of Animal Protection Societies of the Community of Madrid, FAMAP, has come up with a campaign this year aimed at, at least, stopping those figures from getting any bigger. The title: 'Would you abandon him just for a holiday?' The campaign is being supported by numerous celebrities, particularly from the theatre, cinema, music, arts and letters. These include such well-known names as>>>
Cristina Narbona, Julia Otero, Rosa Montero, Blanca Suárez, José Mota, Maria León, Julia Navarro, Jorge Javier Vázquez, Juanjo Puigcorbé, Carmen Rigalt, Lluís Homar, Kira Miró, Vicente Romero, Julián Hernández, Leiva de Pereza, Rubén Pozo de Pereza, Marcos Ana, Mariam Hernández, Patricia Montero, Reincidentes, Boikot, Sidecars, Ciuco Guttiérrez, Antonio Zabálburu, Mario Valdivieso, Yesca, Jesús Olmedo, Ruth Núñez, Fernando Andina, Julián López...
|Pancho the star|
Several of the actors have taken part in a short film with the dog called Pancho, a mixed rescue (of the kind we see around here a lot) famous for appearing in commercials and TV series. Directed by Miguel Romero, the film is called Divina Justicia (Divine Justice), on the sad subject of dogs and cats abandoned when the family goes on holiday.
Rescue centres overwhelmed
While animals are abandoned all year round, there is an upsurge in the numbers at the beginning of the summer holidays, which started 'officially' last Monday, particularly in large cities. The cost of kennelling in Spain has risen enormously over the last few years, largely because of increasing demand for fewer placess.
The film aims at offering alternatives to just letting the pet, mostly dogs, out at the side of the road, a common practice. It shows some of the dangers to which the pet can be subjected to: hit and runs, cruelty, slow death from malnutrition ... and being the involuntary cause of traffic accidents.
FAPAE says that the number of expensive pedigree cats and dogs being abandoned is growing substantially, as are the number of middle-aged and old animals.
The organizations own shelters are overwhelmed most of the year, but especially in the summer, "which is the real reason behind the campaign."
"The financial crisis has hit pets very hard; most of the animals are abandoned for financial reasons. Many families can no longer afford feeding them or vet fees.," says a FAPAE spokesperson. The situation is out of hand, too, because membership in the various associations involved in the federation has dropped by at least 50%.
Alternatives to abandonment
FAPAE says that being responsible for a pet includes managing the holiday period without just throwing the animal to the wind.
There are alternatives: kennels, dog walkers, shelters, leaving him/her with friends or family, choosing hotels or holiday rentals that allow pets (a facility that is happily growing in Spain).
To conclude, FAPAE reminds us that "in countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Holland and Sweden, there is hardly any animal abandonment. Spain has the shameful European record for the number of abandoned pets, whereas our abandoned pets are adopted largely in Germany or Holland."