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Tenerife groups unite to fight against true picture of animal cruelty 

Gente Solidaria de Candelaria would like to inform the public of the next celebration of the “Dia Solidario de Candelaria” , on the 3rd October, and the march against animal cruelty.

No less than 41 associations, animalists, refuges and centres located in Tenerife have participated in pre-meetings and discussions to put together the true picture of animal welfare on the island.

Almost 10,000 animals were taken in last year by assoc-iations, shelters, refuges and independent volunteers in Tenerife, and this represents only a part of all abandoned animals. Many of them don’t even manage to get to the installations of 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 can be cold, behind each one of these numbers there is an animal that has lost his home or even never had one. A helpless being that wonders the streets,” said a spokesman for the organisers.

“To understand just how serious the problem is we have to put look at it in the context of data from the Affinity Foundation, with reference to studies on pets and abandon-ment, which shows us there were 140,000 animals aban-doned last year in all of Spain. This signifies that Tenerife is responsible for 7% of the national level.”

“To put ourselves in the picture of what that signifies, we can say that, without even having in account the rest of our islands, this percentage is only overtaken by the communities of Andalucia, Madrid, Valencia and Catalunya, all of which have a far higher population density than ours. If that´s just what’s limited to our territory then it appears clear that it is necessary to forcefully act against cruelty and abandonment.”

For this reason, the Association “Gente Solidaria de Candelaria” has decided this year to include the animals in its “Dia Solidario”, counting on almost all the animal related associations on the island.

More than 32 associations met last Thursday after being invited by “Gente Solidaria” and every day more are adding their voice to the event, in reality more than 40. The intention is to make an unprecedented action, and 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 zone of the capital city, which in spite of having a local pound, is continuously saturated owing to the unending arrival of animals,” said the spoke-sman.

“This situation repeats itself practically all over the island, where a multitude of volunteers have come together to form small associations, without public funding supporting themselves only with the solidarity of friends and family as well as by selling craft items or second hand goods, just to finance vet care and food for the animals in their care.”

“In actuality, there are more than 3000 dogs looking for a home on our island, 2000 of them 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 only 3 refuges on the island that can accommodate cats – Apanot, Valle Colino and La Rosaleda (the only refuge on the island exclusively for cats).

Their statement continues: “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 campaigns.”

“If this is not enough, we must clarify that these animalists do not only invest their time, money and energy into cats and dogs, there are also associations that rescue ducks, horses, donkeys, sheep, tortoises and ferrets. Although as in all cases the available resources are always insufficient for the huge quantity of animals that need help. In these cases it is especially significant, as yet there are no adequate refuges for them as there are elevated costs relating to the rescue and maintenance of each one of these animals.”

“Our idea is to bring solution; by this we understand that a form of glossing over the problems is to increase the network of Animal Protection Centres and Shelters on the island, we understand that with the statistics that we have to deal with, at least five refuges like those already in existence would be necessary.”

“What´s more, we unders-tand that there needs to be unified regulations for all municipalities benefiting from it, so that all the animals on the island can be covered with the same quality and guarantee.”

“All of us must emphasise the importance of sterilising animals to avoid unwanted litters that unavoidably will end up in a refuge, especially in the case of cats, that have a high birth rate and many problems in controlling a population. We can highlight more than ten associations in Tenerife are managing cat colonies, covering entirely the costs of sterilisation, food and hygiene care, without any kind of help from the authorities.”

“We also insist that public Administrations make a special control of the population, making obligatory the use of microchips for the correct identification of pets, that they control the illegal sale of animals and that they carry out an exhaustive surveillance of those most prone to abandoning animals, like the hunters or illegal breeders.”

“Lastly, but by no means the least important, we believe that we must promote a culture of adoptions most beneficial to the animals of the island. To promote adoption over buying, to inform our peers that old dogs also need a chance, that potentially dangerous dog breeds can be calm and loving dogs, or that podencos make excellent house dogs, is something we can all do.”

“For all that, we propose as a priority to the “Cabildo Insular de Tenerife” a meeting to propose that our concerns are justified.”