dingo-dog-shelterThe Canary Island Federation of Animal and Plant Protection Associations is about to start a sterilization program for abandoned cats and dogs which will improve their health, reduce the risk of disease transmission and control their breeding, especially cats.

The Federation is responsible for carrying out the sterilization of abandoned cats and dogs housed at animal protection centres. Veterinarians from the Professional Association of Veterinarian Surgeons of Santa Cruz will be contracted to carry out the sterilizations. Pets are not eligible in this program that will be running over a six-month period.

According to the Professional Association of Veterinarian Surgeons, Tenerife is home to 142,000 dogs and 4,000 cats. This calculation is based on animals taken by their owners to veterinary clinics, which is the closest to an official animal census they can get. However, a large number of animals are not reflected in this census, such as hunting dogs.

wild-catsCurrent identification systems such as the use of microchips and readable tattoos, as required by the Spanish Animal Protection Act, have proved ineffective as many pet owners do not mark their pets with these identification systems, and can therefore not be located.

Abandoned dogs pose serious problems to society, since they can cause car accidents and transmit diseases. Dogs that have turned wild after having been abandoned in forests or recreational areas frequently cause damage to farms by attacking live stock. The situation is even worse with cats, as they are naturally good hunters they adapt easily to living on their own, and their reproduction capabilities are phenomenal.