An anonymous survey of dog owners in Torrevieja has shown some of the problems that the town is facing, Councillor Carmen Morate has revealed.
She said 115 people were asked a series of questions in 2016, which have now been analysed by one of the Town Hall’s new employees.
It found that 12% of the dogs have no microchip, 62% are not castrated, and 24% of these owners adopted their pet from a charity or shelter like the one in Torrevieja.
Morate believes that much more than 12% of dogs have no microchip, especially those that unfortunately not taken out for walks. She reminded that a microchip is obligatory in the Valencian Community or owners can be fined up to €1,000.
She has asked the Local Police to start a dog identification campaign for which they have two microchip readers. Anyone who needs to update their address or telephone number on the animal register can do so for free at the municipal office in Plaza Capdepont from 8am-2pm Mpnday-Friday or telephone 965 705 243 or on the website www.rivia.org.
About the large percentage of dogs that have not been castrated, Morate said some owners think it is not necessary, and others believe myths like ‘they suffer’, ‘it is dangerous’ or ‘it makes them dominant or fat’.
“Really for males or females castration only has advantages,” she said. “Apart from preventing illnesses like breast cancer in females or prostate cancer in males, males are less likely to escape or fight other males if they have been castrated. But the most important reason is to avoid unwanted pregnancies.”
She noted that there are no stray dogs in Holland because almost all dogs are castrated and unwanted litters are the reason why so many dogs are put down in Spain. “Every puppy is the equivalent to a dog being put down because the family that takes it could have adopted one that needs a home instead.”
32% of people interviewed bought their dogs from a shop or a breeder, 37% were presents from friends or from unwanted litters, 7% were found in the street, and 24% were adopted from a charity or shelter.
To see national information about abandonment of dogs see the website http://www.fundacion-affinity.org/sites/default/files/infografia-estudio-de-abandono-y-adopcion-2017.png
The 115 people interviewed had 152 dogs, an average of 1.3 each, and 50% had another type of animal as well.
More than half walked them along streets and pavements and just under half in parks, beaches and promenades. 70% thought there are not enough suitable places and agreed that some areas should be fenced off specifically for exercising dogs, which is something the Town Hall has agreed to work on. Dog trainers indicate that behavioural problems at home can often be modified by walking the dog long enough to tire it out.
One of the most common complaints is about dogs fouling the street and 70% of those asked said they knew about the mayor’s decree about the importance of cleaning up faeces but 32% doubted it would have any effect.
Morate said that specific areas for dogs could also help to reduce the amount of faeces in the streets, as well as providing bags for collecting them and bins for disposing of them. This issue was the main reason the people interviewed thought caused problems between people who own dogs and those who do not. She said that if people were better educated and obeyed the bylaw then Torrevieja could be a prettier place.