This Monday, Local Councilor for Sanitation and Public Health, José Francisco Pérez López, met with cat colony carers in San Bartolomé de Tirajana to begin an official sterilisation and counseling project following the recently approved Control of cat colonies resolution in the southern municipality
This meeting informed volunteers, feeders and animal protectors on how San Bartolomé de Tirajana intends to action sterilization of street cats, offering advice to those who protect the colonies and present campaigns in schools throughout the municipality to raise greater awareness about animal welfare and to help curb abandonment.
The meeting chaired by the Councilor, José Francisco Pérez López, was also attended by the president of the Veterinary College of Las Palmas, José Enrique Rodríguez, who emphasised that they would agree with the City Council to take advantage of resources available to control the stray cats distributed through more than 70 colonies that have been identified in the area.
Daniel Rodríguez, who heads of the municipal shelter, expressed support the project affirming that in recent months there has been much more positive awareness regarding the adoption of animals and in avoiding abandonment.
In principle, the meeting sought to set out and report on the rights and duties of these stray animals and the people who deal with them. The project is attempting to census the total number of colonies, and cats within each, so as to come up with an accurate number of how many abandoned animals there may be in the municipality, since there is still no official record.
There is to be constant supervision from the Town Council because according to José Enrique Rodríguez, “entering colonies there are always 3 to 6% new animals, the problem will not be eradicated although it can be controlled.” The main thing for the City Council will be to take care of the colonies that are in critical situation.
The objective is to gradually regularise colonies that currently only count on the altruistic help of volunteer animal protectors in an effort to formally transfer responsibility to San Bartolomé de Tirajana.
“This is an important health issue, we must organise the neighborhoods and the caretakers of the cats, as we have to develop a common focus.” the councilman for Sanitation and Public Health continued saying that it is an educational issue and that the Town Council will undertake an agreement with the College of Veterinarians to organize the structuring of cat colonies throughout the area.
The Town Council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana intends to launch important actions this coming October, assigning new budgets for the sterilization of street cats or food items, as well as using the Pet Fair successfully launched last year to help raise awareness about animal abandonment.
This seems to be an extraordinarily progressive development. Not so long ago the local town halls on Gran Canaria were being accused of having no strategy other then quietly encouraging eradication by any means, with many citizen’s fearing that a lack of education essentially allowed barbaric practices of the past, such as poisoning, to continue unabated.
The recent work that has been undertaken by the Gran Canaria Cabildo working with the Veterinarian College to help organise, regulate and educate around the problem of abandoned animals on the island is now greatly enhanced by the forward thinking efforts of this municipality. Though no such projects will ever be perfect or even quite enough, it is deeply gratifying to see this administration leading the way on such an important problem.
The Pet Fair launched last year in the municipal Parque Sur de Maspalomas coupled with the project to reopen the municipal animal shelter, after many years laying dormant, were first signs that this administration have taken the time and trouble to really educate themselves about best practice in animal welfare and 21st century methods in education and humane caring for our furriest of friends.
We can only hope that other municipalities follow the wonderful example that Maspalomas appears to be pushing forward. Great work San Bartolomé de Tirajana!