For all its beauty, great weather, relaxed approach to life and general goodness, Spain is a flawed country when it comes to animal care as has been highlighted by the growing number of abandoned animals appearing on streets and in national parks.
We’ve been staying in a rural village inland from Sitges for a while and last Friday I found a puppy , “Bungle” who had been abandoned. I spent probably an hour sitting with him while gaining enough trust to get him home so I could feed him and take a proper look at him.
A trip to the vet the next day revealed that he had no microchip (which is quite normal if the owners don’t travel with their pet) and he was aged at around 6 months (by his teeth and general size). Speaking of size, he already weighs almost 20 kilos and that is a possible indication as to why he was abandoned.
The police normally take unchipped dogs, keep them for a few weeks and then exterminate them if the owners don’t claim them. That to me is completely unacceptable.
Having spent most of the weekend on the phone to various animal rescue agencies or voluntary groups it has become evident that the average Spaniard has a preference for smaller dogs, partly because they’re easier to manage and also that most people live in apartments where space is at a premium.
It is also clear that the number of dogs and cats being abandoned is rising due to the financial state of Spain and a big dog like ‘Bungle’ would cost a lot in food and vets bills should they arise. Although I sympathise with people’s tight financial constraints I cannot accept cruelty to animals and it’s high time human beings became more sensible and responsible where our fellow earthlings are concerned. If you’re buying a dog please look at the long term picture, not just the excitement of the here and now.
Dogs are a huge responsibility, especially puppies. They need constant attention, walking, training and medical care. Too many people overlook these things and just see a fluffy toy that licks them or does cute things sometimes.
An advertising campaign in the UK which started back in the 70s went something like, “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas” and those words were etched into our minds. There was also a dog licensing scheme which I think should be brought back.
The situation with Bungle is depressing and saddening as we cannot keep him either, but trying to find him a good home is incredibly difficult and may result in me driving him to France or Germany.
I’ll keep you posted about the situation with Bungle but if you can help in any way please contact us through the website or the comment box.
Thank you for reading.