Some of the stray cats in Ronda. / A. Rau

Animal welfare groups clash with Ronda council over stray cat situation

They accuse the local authority of trying to trap the animals and take them to be destroyed, while the council insists this is a lie and is accusing opposition politicians of trying to "incite hatred"

VANESSA MELGAR Ronda

Six animal welfare groups in the Ronda area, Olvera and Alcalá del Valle are accusing Ronda council of having begun to capture stray cats, starting with La Sevillana area near the bullring. They say they have videos of cages being put down to trap the animals.

They claim that the cats are controlled, neutered and managed by these groups, and although the council approved a policy of capturing, neutering and returning in 2017, it has done nothing to help.

The groups also claim that Ronda council has a contract with the Paraíso dog pound in Alhaurín de la Torre, where animals are put down after ten days. “If the council wants to check that the cats are sterilised, they only have to ask us or the vets who do the operations. The proof is that there are no kittens,” they say and they want the public to protest against the move to catch and sacrifice the stray cats.

"It's a lie"

However, councillor Concha Muñoz has strongly denied that the cats are going to be sacrificed but says there is a technical report showing that the colonies of cats are unhygienic, sources of illness, fleas, ticks, unpleasant odours, urine and faeces in the historic town centre. She said there are around 40 cats and feeding them is forbidden, and can result in a fine of up to 500 euros. This is because the food goes rotten and that attracts rats and cockroaches. “The natural life cycle is for cats to eat the rats,” she insisted.

Muñoz said the council has been working on a solution for several months and plans to create a place in Ronda where the cats can be moved and looked after by vets and animal welfare groups.

She also explained that the traps are being set for the cats to see whether they have been neutered or not, and accused the opposition PSOE party of spreading these rumours and trying to “incite hatred” against the mayor and the council.