Cartagena works with animal charities
By Alex Watkins FOR many years there has been tension between animal welfare charities in Cartagena and the local pet shelter (CATAD), which has been accused of bad conditions and practices on numerous occasions over the 16 years it has been open but never convicted of any offence.
The coalition council is now attempting to build bridges between the associations and the company contracted to provide this municipal service with agreements that encourage them to collaborate and will come into effect before the end of this year.
Last week the councillor for quality of life, Francisco Calderón met with representatives of the associations Segunda Oportunidad, PAES, PLANET, Geocat Cartagena and Cuatro Gatos.
Firstly, a total fund of €25,000 will be allocated to refund fees that associations have had to pay to adopt animals from the CATAD. City hall has also agreed to modify its tax bylaws to exempt registered animal protection associations from the fee from next year onwards.
Associations will also get a bonus for taking animals that are particularly difficult to adopt because they are potentially dangerous breeds, are more than eight years old or have an illness that has previously been diagnosed at the CATAD.
A second line of funding will reward associations that work to find adoptive homes for these animals by covering much of their expenses for vaccinations, sterilisation and deworming treatment, which are legally required for any adoption and any animals must be registered on the municipal pet census.
Sr Calderón thanked these associations because they, and not just the CATAD, take charge of catching and looking after stray animals. He said the council’s ultimate aim is to stop all abandonment of animals, ‘although we are closer to managing that none are put down’. He said this is being achieved by promoting registration of animals and public awareness campaigns.
“This has to be educational and social work; a pet is not a toy,” he said.
The councillor noted that work is also underway to improve the kennels at the CATAD, and to build the municipality’s first park especially for dogs, which will be in the Parque de la Rosa.
He explained that the work at the CATAD is being carried out ‘quickly and diligently’ but is not finished yet. He said it will increase the capacity by 30% as well as the size of the area for the animals, so that if it rains or is cold they have an enclosed room with an automatic feeding system that deposits food from chutes.
“The cleaning will also be carried out in a more acceptable way,” he assured.
Building new kennels at the CATAD
Francisco Calderón (centre) with association members