Gente Solidaria de Candelaria would like to inform the public of the next “Dia Solitario de Candelaria” on 3rd October, and the march against animal cruelty.
Last year almost 10,000 animals were taken in by associations, shelters, refuges and independent volunteers in Tenerife. This represents only a part of all abandoned animals. Many of them don’t even get to the Animal Protection Agencies, but are killed on the roads, lost in the mountains or are simply victims of cruelty by sadists or used in illegal street fights.
Although the figures are cold, behind each number is an animal that has lost it’s home or perhaps never had one. A helpless being that wanders the streets.
To understand just how serious the problem is we have to look at it in the context of data from the Affinity Foundation, in reference to studies on pets and abandonment, which shows there were 140,000 animals abandoned nationally in Spain last year. Tenerife is responsible for 7% of this horrendous number. To put that in context this percentage is only exceeded by Andalucía, Madrid, Valencia and Catalunya, all of which have a far higher population density than Tenerife.
If this is what is happening in our region then it is clear that it is necessary to act forcefully against cruelty and abandonment
For this reason, the Association “Gente Solidaria de Candelaria” has decided to include animals this year in its “Dia Solidario”. More than 32 associations met on Thursday after being invited by “Gente Solidaria” and more are adding their voice to the event each day, in total over 40. The intention is to take unprecedented action, not only to help financially via a collection of animal food, but also to launch a campaign at insular level that will permeate society.
We don’t want to concentrate only on figures and statistics, we want to bring solutions. From the data supplied by the associations, we can deduce that the majority of abandoned animals are in the capital, Santa Cruz, which despite having a local pound, is continuously saturated owing to the unending arrival of animals.
This situation is repeated across the island, where volunteers have come together to form small associations. Without public funding these refuges support themselves with the help of friends and family as well as selling craft items or second hand goods in order to finance vet care and food for the animals in their care.
In reality, there are more than 3000 dogs looking for a home on our island, 2000 in refuges with government agreements and the rest with some 30-odd associations run by volunteers who do priceless work.
With cats it is even more complicated, there are almost 1000 on the island that are supervised in controlled cat colonies or in foster homes, but there are only 3 refuges that can accommodate cats – Apanot, Valle Colino and La Rosaleda (the only refuge on the island exclusively for cats). We should highlight that these 1000 cats are a very small proportion of the cats who find themselves abandoned or that have been born wild, and because of this all the animal associations’ highlight the huge importance of sterilisation.
If this is not enough, there are refuge centres that not only invest their time, money and energy on cats and dogs, but also rescue ducks, horses, donkeys, sheep, tortoises, and ferrets. As in all cases, the available resources are insufficient for the huge quantity of animals that need help, especially where there are no adequate refuges for these animals.
Our idea is to bring solutions. We understand from the statistics provided, that in order to increase the network of Animal Protection Centres and Shelters on the island at least a further 5 refuges like those already in existence would be necessary.
We understand that there needs to be unified regulations for all municipalities, so that all the animals can be guaranteed the same quality of care and protection.
We cannot emphasise enough the importance of sterilising animals to avoid unwanted litters that invariably end up in a refuge, especially in the case of cats, that have a high birth rate and the many problems in controlling a population. We know of more than 10 associations in Tenerife that manage cat colonies, covering all the costs of sterilisation, food and health care, without any kind of help from the authorities.
We want public Administrations to make obligatory the use of microchips to correctly identify pets, and control the illegal sale of animals. We also want them to carry out an exhaustive investigation of those, like the hunters or illegal breeders, who are most prone to abandoning animals.
Lastly, but by no means the least, something we all can do is
- Promote a culture of adoption to benefit the animals of the island.
- Promote adoption over buying
- Inform our peers that old dogs also need a chance
- That potentially dangerous dog breeds can be calm and loving dogs and
- That podencos make excellent house dogs,
Finally, as a priority, we propose a meeting with the “Cabildo Insular de Tenerife” to put forward and justify our concerns.