Changes in the ownership of dogs (from a shelter to a private adopter), as well as new registrations (purchases or changes of ownership between private individuals) recorded in the Registro Informático Valenciano de Identificación Animal (RIVIA) (Valencian Animal Identification Computerised Register), usually suffer few fluctuations from one year to the next. The irruption of Covid-19 altered this dynamic in the Valencian Community.
As can be seen in the graphs, with monthly data compared between 2019 and 2020, the start of de-escalation on 18 May 2020 (the date of the start of Phase 1) after more than two months of harsh home lockdown was a turning point, and many Valencians had to start thinking about the possibility of introducing a dog into their homes. The figures soared: adoptions of animals from shelters rose by 94% in June, and 49% in July and purchases or changes of dog owners also increased by 27.1% and 17%, respectively, compared to 2019. In December, in addition, and most likely due to the Christmas shopping period, the increase in dog purchases (compared to that month in 2019) reached 31.7%.
Since the end of home confinement (18 May) and until the end of 2020, adoptions soared by a remarkable 37.6% and dog acquisitions by another 17.2%.
The Consell Valencià de Col.legis Veterinaris CVCV, finally, cannot overlook the huge imbalance between adoptions and purchases: in 2020 as a whole, 2,782 dogs were registered as adopted compared to 92,858 purchased. “Adopting gives the animal a second chance, benefits the family and animal protection organisations and fulfils an added social function, which is key in the fight against abandonment.
Buying an animal does not contribute to all of this, despite the fact that it is a living being. Often the animal is seen as just another gift, as a toy that should never be considered, and on too many occasions, buying an animal is a more impulsive, less responsible action”, Ibor points out in this respect. The Ley de Protección de Animales Domésticos (Law for the Protection of Domestic Animals) – now in parliamentary procedure in Les Corts – could be a valid instrument to encourage adoptions. “There is a need for awareness campaigns, for citizens to go to the vet to resolve their doubts about health needs, about the responsibilities and obligations acquired when taking charge of an animal,” concludes the president of the CVCV.