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Nearly half a million dogs are abandoned each year in Mexico as unwanted gifts

Mexico City, Mexico — Nearly half a million dogs and cats are abandoned to the streets each year in Mexico, many of which were given as unwanted gifts.

Emmanuel Pedraza, general director of the civil association Defensoría Animal, explains that each year, about half a million pets are abandoned that were given as gifts during Christmas, Three Kings Day and Valentine’s Day.

He says that months later, once the pets begin to grow, people lose interest in them.

“The abandonment is very remarkable in the months after the holidays. From March to July, the puppies begin to grow, if they survive,” he said.

In Mexico, there is no census on pets or domestic animals. However, the Mexican Association of Veterinarians Specialists estimates that there are around 28 million in the country, of which 70 percent are on the street, a figure that grows 20 percent annually.

Pedraza, who has worked in animal defense in terms of education and legislation, says the sale of dogs and cats without sterilization and the crossbreeding between breeds in clandestine farms and markets favor the figures of abandonment, abuse and public health problems.

He explained that the civil association has received animals confiscated by authorities in markets, bazaars and clandestine breeding sites, of which 70 percent die while being cared for due to diseases.

The main reasons for the abandonment of dogs and cats are “the behavior (of the animals), which for many people find undesirable”, and that as for the breed “people feel disappointed when they realizes that the pet they bought is not what I expected.”

“People think they are like stuffed toys. They buy an animal for its aesthetics but they do not understand that behind it there is a whole behavioral issue of its own nature.”

The Law for the Protection of Animals of the Federal District prohibits “the sale and exploitation of animals on public roads or in vehicles, in department stores, self-service stores and, in general, in any other establishment whose authorized commercial turnaround is different from that of the sale of animals.”

Those who are “with suspicion or confirmation of an illness, with traumatic injuries or any other condition that causes them suffering, and those who have not been claimed by their owners or who mediates in writing a court order,” can be sacrificed according to the Federal Standard for Prevention and Control of Diseases, which allows the elimination of dogs and cats by means of “sacrifice without cruelty” in authorized canine care centers.

The adoption of stray dogs and cats is an option to correct the abandonment and mistreatment “when it was already well thought to have an animal,” said Pedraza, because we must be aware of the responsibility, time and economic resources that demand.

“Adoption is an act of human kindness and really, not only does it save a life, it also educates,” he said.