Dogs at a local animal shelter. SUR
Number of abandoned dogs in Malaga shelter skyrockets as rise in living costs bites

Number of abandoned dogs in Malaga shelter skyrockets as rise in living costs bites

The city council confirms commitment to promotion of adoption of homeless animals over euthanasia

Ignacio LIllo


Monday, 6 February 2023


Rising prices and a worsening economic situation across the region have had an unexpected and unfortunate effect on Malaga’s pet dogs. The municipal animal protection centre has reported 913 cases of dogs being admitted to the shelter in 2022, up from 544 the previous year, an increase of 68 per cent.

Despite the rise in numbers, the city council has reiterated its commitment to ‘zero terminations’, except in irrecoverable cases, and is promoting adoption or transfer to alternative animal protection groups.

Conversely, the the centre has reported a 20 per cent decrease in the number of cats it has received, down from 449 in 2021 to 258 in 2022.

Adoption up

Despite the extra numbers and pressure, the centre has reported an increase of 21 per cent in successful adoptions and a rise of 50 per cent in cases of rehousing dogs in alternative protection groups. There has also been a marked improvement in the number of lost dogs being retrieved by their owners. All these have helped offset the rise in dogs entering the centre.

However, the centre did report an increase in animal terminations with 50 more than the previous year, reporting a total of 64 compared with 19 in 2021. This has been attributed to a growth in the arrival of animals with complicated behavioural or medical conditions which the owners are unable to treat, either due to financial difficulties or the lack of the specialist knowledge required.

However, the city’s commitment to ‘zero terminations’ has generally been successful. The change from 2,097 euthanised dogs and cats a decade ago to 76 in 2022 marks a significant reduction.

Cat colonies

The number of cats collected or removed by municipal services from the streets was reduced significantly from 299 in 2021 to 176 in 2022, a reduction of 41%. This confirms, according to the centre, the effectiveness of the management of the feral cat colonies, controlled using the trap-neuter-return system used by the city hall in collaboration with three associations.

The remaining 182 cats taken in by the municipal centre were handed over by their owners.

The continued development and growth of the municipal animal protection centre since 2011 have clearly been positive. A increase of public awareness of the centre has translated into a decrease in the number of abandoned animals, 70% in the case of dogs with the number dropping from 1,594 in 2011 to 481 in 2022.

Collaboration between the council and the animal protection groups has also grown, the councillor for Environmental Sustainability, Francisco Cantos, pointed out, "Without the involvement of entities such as the Sociedad Protectora de Animales, Perros de Málaga, AMAN or Ciriana, as well as many other associations with which we work indirectly, these results would be simply impossible."

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