The words in the title were written by Graham Keeley a Times journalist and judging by the story he has written, he is correct. However, Spain’s unwanted cat problem is similar to other countries; so I am not picking on Spain, simply reporting a cat story which should conern and ultimately delight (perhaps) cat lovers anywhere in any country.
Keeley describes the scene at a pet shop in pet shop in Madrid, “Animals & Cia”:
“Puppies huddle together in cramped boxes waiting for new owners…and kittens are on sale in the next aisle…”
Despite pets being sold in shops like groceries, it does not surprise me that Spain had the highest level of cat and dog abandonments in Europe last year at 33,000 cats and 110,000 dogs, at least. Just as a comparison, Los Angeles, California Animal Services report that for the period 2009-2014, they processed 104,000 cats, of which 55,000 were euthanised. It is rather strange comparing a country with a city.
With cats being sold in shops and abandoned in large numbers animal rights groups say:
“It does not make sense that the dog refuges are full and every day dogs are sacrificed by their owners, and at the same time the pet shops are full.”
Agreed. The Spanish government agreed too. A new law is being debated and drafted which will be presented to parliament this autumn, which aims to put a stop to this cycle of impulse buying and subsequent abandonments. This is the exact point I made in a recent article about risk factors in cat adoptions.
The new law will ban the sale of cats and dogs at pet shops. However, although the new legislation is welcome, I am not too sure about the suggested alternative.
Instead of being on sale in shops cats and dogs will be listed in catalogues and then bought later from breeders. That does not sound correct to me and I wonder if Keeley is reporting it correctly. Surely it would be better if rescue cats and dogs were listed for viewing in catalogues or better still there were no catalogues and people had to attend rescue centers to adopt a cat? There is no place for breeders as long as there are unwanted cats and dogs being euthanised.
The Agriculture Secretary states:
“We are trying to stop the impulse purchase of pets by people who later decide the animal is not for them..”
Good, but please take this opportunity to figure out a better alternative.