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More than 137,000 pets are abandoned each year, according to a study by the Affinity Foundation and, surely, many of them end up on the street a few days after being welcomed as the best gift from Kings. But a pet is not a toy and, beware, abandoning it is punishable.
This is precisely the message that the Nature Protection Service (Seprona) of the Civil Guard wanted to send just hours before that gift appears at the foot of the Christmas tree that the children have tirelessly requested from Melchor, Gaspar or Baltasar.
Luis Solanas, second lieutenant of the Seprona Headquarters, is blunt: having a pet is a responsibility because it requires care, control of their vaccines, an expense for their food and health, a time that must be scratched from the always scarce that we have … Endless “obligations” that must be taken into account before a domestic animal enters the house.
Because if you do not take good care of yourself, if you abandon yourself and your life is in danger, a judge makes use of article 337 bis of the Penal Code and can impose a fine of one to six months on the owner of the animal and, of course, decree its disqualification , Ensign Solanas reminds EFE.
And to impose that fine, surely the magistrate will take into account not only the purchasing power of the accused, but how, why and under what conditions the animal has been left alone, as well as whether the abandonment could have caused any danger.
The Civil Guard does not question the figures published by Affinity, which it can share, but not all pet abandonments are reported, nor are the security forces involved in all cases.
In fact, every year the Seprona opens police proceedings for abandonment of dogs in half a thousand cases.
This Civil Guard service has not broken down the criminal offenses for animal abuse and abandonment, but added together the two circumstances yield a figure of 715 between January and November of this year, an amount higher than that of the same period in 2015.
As a result of these infractions, the agents of this service and of other units of the armed institute detained or charged (investigated according to current law) 442 people in those eleven months.
Meanwhile, the number of administrative infractions to the regulations on companion animals amounted to 10,969 in the same period, according to data provided to Efe.
Although abuse and neglect increase in the statistics, it does not mean that this practice is increasing among citizens, but that greater awareness makes complaints grow.
So much so, that the Civil Guard has verified how more and more citizens turn to this police force in their social media profiles to collaborate in clarifying or denouncing situations of abuse.
In any case, the situation of economic crisis that has probably forced some families to get rid of their pet to reduce expenses has been able to weigh on the slightly upward curve of abandonment. And many others to park for a while their desire to adopt an animal.
A crisis that has also made a dent in the animal welfare agencies, which have seen the subsidies they receive reduced.
Perhaps many have had to abandon their dog very reluctantly and decided to leave it at a gas station so that some user would feel sorry and pick him up.
Dogs, the most abandoned pets
In fact, Repsol and the Civil Guard have signed an action agreement to help abandoned dogs at the service stations of this company, which is broadcasting a video this Christmas to raise awareness about this problem.
Another campaign, #YoSiPuedoContarlo, launched the Civil Guard this summer to move towards “zero tolerance” in abuse and neglect.
Although dogs are the pets that their owners get rid of the most, probably because their maintenance is more expensive and because they require more attention, there are many others that end up on the street because, in some cases, their owners get tired of them. all of those that do not interact, such as turtles, and, therefore, the emotional bond in less.
Twelfth night arrives and Seprona warns that the adoption of a pet must be responsible. "When someone takes care of a pet, they should know that they assume economic, criminal and moral responsibility," Solanas sums up.