The judgment for the abandonment of gofio cat shook the Municipality of Garachico in July 2020 and just two months later, the town launched a management project for stray cat colonies using the Capture, Sterilization and Return (CER) method to make long-term control of the population of these unowned animals possible. Between September 2020 and December 2021, the Garachiquense Consistory has financed the deworming, vaccination, sterilization and feeding of 138 street cats that owe their new life to Gofio.
The mayor of the Villa and Port, Joseph Heriberto Gonzalez (CC), has taken stock of the CER program in the year 2021, which is carried out with the support of a group of volunteer neighbors. Last year, 84 cats were vaccinated, sterilized and dewormed, in addition to the 54 treated between September and December 2020, with a public investment that in that first year was 5,000 euros.
Apart from the 84 animals treated by veterinary professionals with whom the City Council has an agreement, “another eight cats were treated for different diseases” and it was necessary to finance three euthanasias, “with the timely and necessary veterinary report,” according to González. In addition, the needs of seven abandoned dogs were met and investments have been made in regular feeding of the cat colonies, thanks to the work of the volunteers. The mayor points out that in these almost two years of attention to stray cats, the municipality has invested 13,000 euros of public money. “It is not an easy task and you cannot always get it right, but we will continue trying to take care of the animals,” adds González.
The City Council of La Villa y Puerto has invested around 13,000 euros in this care plan
The balance of the initiative is “pretty good”, according to the mayor, “since it has also been used to treat injured animals. For us it is very positive to know that the animals that are in our streets are in a good state of health and that the colonies are not going to continue to grow uncontrollably.” This initiative has been carried out since September 2020 in the ten colonies of stray cats that have been located in different areas of the historic center and the neighborhoods of Garachico, with the help of a team of volunteers and the support of other collaborators from entities such as Civil Protection or the Garachico Rescue and Emergency Group.
TOpart of Garachico, the municipality of La Orotava has developed in recent years an important CER program to care for street neighborhoods. In the Villa, it began in 2018, it has made it possible to care for more than 300 cats and “maintain control over the colonies of stray or feral felines without causing any damage”. The almost three hundred cats captured safely, as in Garachico, have been dewormed, vaccinated and identified with a notch in the ear. According to the Orotavense government (CC), it is the “only system internationally recognized as ethical and effective to guarantee the control of these animals.”
These investments are not lost funds, since the final intention is that “these colonies of ownerless cats disappear naturally by preventing the reproduction of their members”, but without causing them harm and without leaving them unattended. However, the CER method also has its detractors, such as the Association for the Conservation of the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Teno Massif (Abeque), which has denounced that “the presence of colonies of cats in the streets of the municipalities is a very bad news for the conservation of wildlife”, especially birds, small mammals and reptiles, “as well as a tremendous risk to public health”.
Abeque considers that “cats maintain their predatory activity. In fact, in many places they are the leading cause of mortality for wildlife, well above poisoning or being run over.” They argue that most of these actions do not stop the proliferation of cats.
The ‘Gofio’ case
On November 25, 2018, Rosa Nieves González and Aritz Méndez go with some friends to Garachico for lunch. Near the old packaging they come across a dying cat puppy. Lying motionless, his eyes glued shut from infection, emaciated and full of fleas and ticks. They call the Local Police, which is not responsible, and 112, which sends them to the Town Hall. They decide to assume the cost of the treatment and, subsequently, claim it from the Consistory. The court ruling on this abandoned cat, named Gofio, was pronounced in July 2020, resulting in a sentence of 770 euros for Garachico and reminding the rest of the municipalities of their obligation to care for abandoned animals. His case was key to the start, in September 2020, of the cat colony care project. | DM