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Woman fined for abandoning her dog at the doors of an animal rescue organisation
It's the first time that an owner has been fined in such circumstances.First Instance and Instruction Court Five in Segovia has fined a Madrid woman 120 € after she abandoned her Rottweiler dog at the doors of the El Refugio animal refuge at El Espinar, Segovia in May 2008. She has also to pay 2,688 € to the animal refuge. Loa was six years old at the time she was abandoned, with her papers left with her. The refuge identified the owner via the microchip, but she did not want to take back the dog. Nacho Paunero, President of El Refugio, notes that this is the first time in Spain that someone has been fined for abandoning their animal at the doors of a refuge. He considers it a step forward in the protection of animals in Spain.
I wonder if the woman in question was elderly and found that she was no longer able to handle a dog of that strength.
Whatever the case, though I would never encourage the abandonment of animals, she did at least care enough to leave the poor dog at the shelter, where she sincerely believed that it would be looked after properly.
Pet owners should never be allowed to simply dump their animals just because they don't want them, but there has to be some kind of process for those who genuinely cease to be able to look after their animal for reasons such as deteriorating health or something.
I had to leave my two cats at an animal shelter when I left Korea. Bringing them back home to Australia was not an option due to the amount of time they would have to spend in quarantine, and I asked around (friends and neighbors etc.) but nobody seemed to want a couple of cats in their home.
The local shelter had an excellent reputation and the animals there are well looked after. But it was still a great pity to have to leave them there.
I'm sorry you had to leave your cats behind. That really sucks. But I'm glad you did your due diligence and made sure you found a reputable shelter that will give them the care and consideration they deserve while finding a new home.
I'm not sure whether this was an elderly woman, based on the limited information available. I would think that there would be more leniency if there were. I suspect this was just someone who didn't want their dog and dumped it, which many do throughout the world. I think the problem is that people often need to give up their animals (as a former animal shelter volunteer, I think that some animals are actually better off in new homes), but they need to do it responsibly. They need to notify the shelter, do the paperwork, notify of medical conditions, etc. Also, it's very difficult for shelters to survive when animals are simply dumped on their doorstep. It takes the right of acceptance away from the shelter (although this is a very, very controversial issue which I'm slowly backing away from!)
Such legislation sends a global message to the community that if you have a companion animal, you need to be responsible for it. Of course there are always exceptions, but we must start somewhere. There are consequences to undertaking such a task. However, these are messages that only work if those consequences are enforced.
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