Animal abandonment: how to prevent it 

Animal abandonment is sadly a reality. Living with pets is not always easy, so we show you how to avoid and prevent animal abandonment.



What is animal abandonment?

Abandonment is the most important animal welfare problem in our country involving pets. Despite being a crime and a serious social problem, the truth is that statistics suggest about 162,000 dogs and 124,000 cats ended up in Spanish pet shelters in 2020 alone.

Why does animal abandonment happen?

The reasons that lead some people to abandon their animals are many, but the main one is economics. Unwanted litters are the second reason and problematic behaviour - the third. But all these causes might be prevented if we stopped to think before adopting an animal. 

It’s essential to consider how stable the economy will be over the next 15 to 20 years and whether we’ll be able to keep an animal, even if our economic situation worsens. To avoid unwanted litters, we just have to consult with a veterinarian on the steps to take. Sterilization is one solution, but there are others too. Regarding problematic behaviour, this can be solved with training, empathy, respect, patience and, if needed, consulting with an ethologist and/or a dog trainer.  

What are the consequences of animal abandonment?

The main consequence of animal abandonment is animal suffering. Overnight, an animal may find itself far from their family, alone, on the street and not knowing how to feed or protect itself. 

In addition, we need to consider that the law prohibits animal abandonment. Abandoned dogs and cats, who do not succumb to an accident or die of hunger, usually end up being picked up by city authorities charged with that job. Once collected, the fate of the animal will depend on whether the municipality has a shelter or only a kennel. 

In a kennel, the animal will be put down after a certain period of time as stipulated by  municipal ordinance. Shelters, however, look new homes for animals. Although not all find one, the work shelters do in giving hope, food and shelter is essential while an animal awaits a chance for adoption. 

How to avoid animal abandonment

The sad consequences of animal abandonment can be avoided by acting responsibly.  We humans are the ones who adopt pets and it’s our responsibility to give them a good life. If we cannot, we should look for solutions that do not harm them. 

Microchip identification and registering an animal with the municipality are mandatory measures that can help avoid abandonment. Of course, we should also not ignore or hesitate to denounce cases of abandonment we are aware of.  

But, what above all saves animal lives is love and respect for them. We should consider animals as part of the family and understand that "we would never do that to them".