According to the study published by the Affinity Foundation, for the first time economic factors are placed at the top of the declared reasons for the abandonment of a companion animal.

The Affinity Foundation has just published the Study «He would never do it» on the abandonment, loss and adoption of companion animals in Spain 2020, and we share some of the main points, which you can find in detail in the link that we put you below.

How many dogs and cats were picked up by shelters and animal shelters in 2020?

Abandonment or loss in 2020 affected 2.4% of the 6,733,097 dogs and 3% of the 3,795,139 cats estimated to live in Spain.

Abandonment and loss constitute one more year the main problem of well-being and quality of life for dogs and cats in our country1.

In 2020, 6.6% fewer animals arrived at reception centers than in 2019. This is undoubtedly the most important reduction that we have observed in recent years. However, the reality of dogs is very different from that of cats.

Abandonment and loss constitute one more year the main problem of well-being and quality of life for dogs and cats in our country.

What was the fate of the dogs and cats that arrived at animal shelters in 2020?

15.6% of the dogs collected by shelters and animal shelters were returned to their owners. From this percentage we can estimate that at least 25,112 of the admissions in reception centers corresponded to lost dogs.

49.3% of dogs were adopted.

20.2% remained in the shelter awaiting adoption, 3.2% died or were euthanized for medical reasons.

In 2020 there is a parallel reduction in the total number of dogs that arrive at the centers and of those that are recovered by their families. If we assume that, firstly, recovered animals tend to be mostly lost, and secondly, the proportion of animals identified in 2020 is comparable to 2019, the data suggests that fewer dogs were lost in 2020 than in years previous. The lower mobility of the population derived from the application of the state of alarm would reduce the probability of loss of a dog. In this sense, our study on the impact of the pandemic on companion animals indicates that, contrary to popular perception, dogs walked less time during periods of confinement

How were abandonment and loss affected by periods of confinement?

The mobility and lifestyle restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 state of alarm appear to have had a significant impact on the rate of arrival of animals in shelters throughout 2020.

The effect is particularly significant in the dog. In previous years we had never observed significant differences between the different months of the year in terms of the number of dogs that arrived at shelters and shelters. However, in 2020 abandonment and loss fall during the first confinement period and also, although to a lesser extent, in the last quarter.

These data suggest, first, that the restrictions imposed by the state of alarm created a temporary barrier effect against the loss and abandonment of companion animals. Secondly, we must not forget that the paralysis that the country experienced during the first months of confinement affected and limited the normal functioning of many animal shelters.

In cats we also observed a decrease in arrivals to reception centers during the first months of the year, which later recovered. However, we must bear in mind that in previous years the second semester has always registered the largest number of cat entries in reception centers. In addition to the impact of the state of alarm, we must remember that the seasonal nature of cat reproduction means that the number of arrivals at reception centers is higher in the central months of the year.

What were the most common causes for transferring an animal to a shelter?

For the first time in recent years, economic factors are at the forefront of the declared reasons for the abandonment of a companion animal. In 2019, financial reasons ranked fifth among the reasons for getting rid of a pet. These figures reflect the harsh impact that the pandemic has had on the economy of many families.

Unwanted litters appear as the second reason for abandonment of companion animals. This data reminds once again the importance of the sterilization of companion animals as one of the

the best strategies to reduce the population of abandoned animals.

Behavioral problems are ranked as the third cause of abandonment. In this regard, it is important to remember that most behavior problems can be successfully prevented and treated by veterinarians.

For yet another year, the animal protection entities that have participated in the study point to the end of the hunting season as one of the most important reasons for abandoning companion animals.

It is very important to insist that the information available on the reasons for abandonment is provided in most cases by people who personally take their pet to an animal shelter or is provided by the protector. As we have already said, most of the animals that enter the shelters have been found on the street or taken there by people who are not their owners. Therefore, we still do not know the specific reasons for many of the abandonments of companion animals that occur in our country.

Source: Affinity Foundation / Study “He would never do it”.