Animal abandonment has increased in Spain because of the economic crisis. Shelters have been overwhelmed and established adoption as the best solution to this problem. To increase the placement of animals in adopted homes, social networks have become the shelters’ most loyal allies.

According to a study conducted in 2015 by the Ministry of Agriculture,Food and Environment (MAGRAMA), in the last eight years, shelters in Spain haveseen a 15% increase in pets surrendered by owners who can no longer care forthem. This has led them to an overpopulation crisis.

«The only thing that can counteract overpopulation is the adoption,» says Roser De Elías, secretary of the Societat Protectora d’Animals de Mataró (SPAM). To promoteadoption, centers like that opt ​​for the use of social networks. «To cope with this massive influx we suffer, we bet for a good diffusion system and good media channels,» De Elias added.

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People are used to buy cats instead of adopting then from sheltters and usually cats don’t like other cat’s company, so they get very stressed

Facebook has become the most powerful tool to achieve this objective.This is the case of Adan Lopez who, at the moment he saw a picture of Jake, afurry companion, on this platform said he «fell in love» and decidedto take it home: «I’ve always wanted a dog, and now that I can have it Idecided to take this step,” Lopez said. “When I saw Jake’s photo I had no doubt

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This cat suffers immunodeficiency (something like human AIDS) so he can’t be with other cats and has to be alone. His illness is not contagious for humans, but people still don’t trust it.

In addition, the centers say that networks are great allies if you knowhow to use them: «For example, if you receive a chihuahua and you post itspicture on the web, you know that immediately, there will be people willing toadopt it. These cases are so easy that you can even choose a family for the animal”, says Enric Soler, manager of Lliga per la Protecció d’Animals i Plantes de Barcelona.

Beyond adoption, social networks also have other important uses, such as the call to foster animals during extreme cold or heat seasons. When temperatures can affect the animal welfare, protective campaigns are launched through social networks fortemporary refuge. De Elias recognizes that this temporality is part of a»covert game,» because most of the animals that go to these temporary homes end up staying there.

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Sheltter animals suffer extreme temperature more than domestic animals, so there are some pictures like this one to encourage people to adopt dogs during these days.

Despite these new tools, the centers continue emphasizing the importance of awareness. «It’s fine to educate people to adopt, but the real work is to avoid abandoning the animal in the first place,» Soler said.

Text and slideshow made by: Carolina Alvarez Borrell and Celia Alonso

Posted in: Storify & Medium

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