Abandoned Animals: Every 4 Minutes a Dog or Cat is Lost or Abandoned

The number of abandoned animals is a major problem in today's society, and in Spain a recent study has shown that one animal is lost or abandoned every 4 minutes
Abandoned Animals: Every 4 Minutes a Dog or Cat is Lost or Abandoned

Last update: 19 January, 2019

140,191 pets were collected by the Spanish animal shelters over the course of a year. This data comes from a recent study carried out by the Affinity Foundation. From this, we can deduce that every 4 minutes, a dog or a cat is abandoned or lost in Spain. This figure undoubtedly invites us to reflect on the way in which humans treat animals in society, and why there are so many abandoned animals.

A cat sitting in the street.

The study also shows that, of the animals that arrive at shelters, only 30 percent of the dogs and 3 percent of the cats have a microchip, even though this kind of proper identification is required by law. In addition, they also reported that the number of cats that shelters successfully return to their owners (3%) is much lower than the number of dogs who return home (22%).

This final figure, while it illustrates that the number of registered cats is lower than that of dogs, is also a clear sign that many cats are born and grow up on the streets.

What happens to lost and abandoned animals?

As far as where the 106,781 dogs and 33,410 cats mentioned in the study end up, we can also point out that:

  • 45% of the dogs and 40% of the cats were adopted.
  • Shelters euthanized 8% of the dogs and 20% of the cats.
  • Finally, 8% of the dogs and 17% of the cats continue to stay in shelters.

In addition to this, the abandoned animals don’t fall into a certain age group or breed. For example:

  • 21.9% of dogs and 10% of cats are purebred.
  • 45% of the dogs are medium breeds, 28% are small and 27% are large.
  • About 20% of the pets that arrive at a shelter are babies.

What are the main reasons why people abandon their pets?

Among the main causes why people abandon their pets, the Affinity Foundation study cites:

  • Financial difficulties (16.1%)
  • An unexpected litter (13.4%)
  • Inappropriate behavior of the animal (11.9%)
  • The loss of interest in the animal (9.3%)
  • The end of the hunting season (9.1% )
  • Change of address ( 7.9% )
  • Lack of time or space ( 6.2% )
  • Death, hospitalization in a medical institution or loss of employment (4.5%)
  • Allergies (3.4%)
  • The birth of a child (2.9%)
  • Vacations ( 1.2% )
  • Pregnancy (especially due to the fear of contracting toxoplasmosis, 1.1% )

Educate, raise awareness, legislate

A dog tied up out on the snow.

Financial issues aside, many of the reasons people give for having abandoned their pets show a clear lack of responsibility and sensitivity towards dogs, cats and other innocent creatures.

Some humans still don’t seem to understand that animals are living beings and not objects they can use and discard as they please. There is much we need to do to raise awareness, educate people and make laws about it. And it is the State that is responsible for this.

Meanwhile, we can play our small part in this, so that animal abandonment and other forms of mistreatment don’t affect our beloved animals so much. Perhaps one day, the number of homeless creatures left homeless will go down to zero.

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