• Census figures on number of pets overall in Spain vary widely
• Study cites sharp increase in animal abuse cases since 2008
The number of stray animals being collected by animal shelters across Spain has increased by 15 percent over the past eight years, though a recent census commissioned by the government’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment (MAGRAMA) shows the most recent numbers for stray animal collection has fallen slightly since a peak in 2008.
According to the study, federal and regional census figures on how many pets there actually are in Spain vary widely, and it is difficult to know how many stray animals recovered by local government and non-profit animal protection societies are abandoned pets or have been born or have grown up living in the wild.
A sharp increase in stray animal collection coincided with the onset of the economic crisis in 2006-2008, according to the figures. Since 2008, the study also shows a very sharp increase in the number of court cases for animal abuse in Spain, from 108 in 2008 to 681 in 2014.
The study also shows that sterilization of pets in order to limit population growth appears to be highest with cats, some 70-80 percent of which are neutered by their owners, while dog owners in Spain tend to neuter their animals far less, on the order of 30-40 percent.