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Why do I have to neuter my dog when I adopt him?

When we are going to adopt a pet, the protector usually sets a series of conditions. One of them is that the dog is delivered already sterilized or with the commitment to do so if it were not.

Some people may be surprised by this requirement that, although it seems extremist, basically corresponds to a single issue: Spain is the leader in Europe in abandonment.

According to the latest study by the Affinity Foundation on the abandonment of pets, a total of more than 286,000 dogs and cats were collected in Spain in 2020, of which more than 162,000 were dogs. 15.6% were animals that had been lost and could be returned to their owners. From what we can say that more than 136,000 dogs were abandoned , an average of more than 370 per day.

But this study is a small sample of an even harsher reality, since this analysis corresponds to only 387 protectors with refuge, when it is estimated that there are more than 1,500. So we would be talking about 1,490 abandoned dogs daily (more than 545,535 a year).

To this horrifying figure, we should add the countless number of animal protection entities that do not have shelter and carry out their function thanks to shelters. In addition to the thousands of animals that many individuals rescue. The actual number is uncountable today (and let’s remember we’re only talking about dogs).

Since this study was carried out, each year the dropout figures have increased. But in 2020 the number of animals collected was reduced by 6.64% . It seems like good news, but let’s remember that of the 12 months we were 5 confined . So there is not much expectation that we are really improving.

The pandemic has also reversed the results that have been repeated year after year of the main causes of abandonment. For the first time, economic factors have occupied the first place in the 2020 report. In second place, we find the “unwanted litters” , which had occupied the first position in this ranking until then.

Although if we talk about proportion, animals from unwanted litters have been approximately 15% of those collected. So a simple calculation is enough to guess that more than 81,000 dogs a year are born to simply be abandoned thanks to the irresponsibility of their families.

According to the report on the analysis and characterization of the pet sector carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment in 2015, 59.4% of dogs are not sterilized. The main reasons given by ‘their human families’ are that it does not seem natural or they do not like it (34%), that they are too young (26%), because they do not cause problems (15%) and because they want to have children (13% ). ).

It is estimated that there are more than 7 million dogs in our country. If 12.7% want to have litters, we would be talking about more than 889,000 female dogs that will have a “desired litter” at least once in their lives. Puppies that, in most cases, your family will want to responsibly give to their friends, relatives… But reality shakes us once again, and statistically, at least one of the puppies from that “desired litter” will be abandoned.

Animal protection associations are mostly supported thanks to the effort, time and money of volunteers. People who see in the eyes of those more than 545,000 dogs the suffering of being abandoned . Some with happy endings, but statistically more than 110,000 of them will never find a family.

On the one hand, it would not be logical to leave in the hands of the adopters, humans after all, the reproductive control of the animals that they give them when studies indicate that 13% of them “would like to have offspring” while thousands of dogs that they depend on them they will never find a home… The human being is the only animal that stumbles twice over the same stone, but the protectors do not.

All of the above are more than enough reasons for the sterilization of dogs that associations give up for adoption to be an act of social and moral responsibility . It is mainly a way of fighting, together with the identification and responsible ownership campaigns, against the shameful abandoned European leadership that our country holds.


Dr. Jaume Fatjo. 2021. “He would never do it” study by the Affinity Foundation on the abandonment, loss and adoption of pets in Spain 2020.

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment. 2015. Analysis and characterization of the pet sector (Results Report).

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