Worrying landscape of animal welfare centers in Colombia

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Worrying landscape of animal welfare centers in Colombia

Animal conservation is an issue that has gained strength in recent decades due to the awareness and respect that humans have learned to have with these creatures.

Despite this, Colombia still has several axes to grind. According to a census conducted by Senator Andrea Padilla, there are approximately 3 million abandoned dogs and cats in the country, with the Caribbean coast being one of the most difficult places for these animals to survive.

It added that, “The map of animal abuse and abandonment in Colombia is bleak. Out of 1,123 municipalities, only 23, concentrated in 5 departments, have a sterilization program. Padilla says, Also 1,700 horses are exploited by animal draft, some wildlife care centers are unsustainable for the most part, and none in the Amazon, Pacific and Orinoquia regions.

In addition, statistics from the prosecutor’s office show that from March 2021 to 2022, 1,777 complaints of crimes against animals were received. But the big question in these cases is: who cares for domestic animals in case they misbehave, run away, or need intervention to avoid overpopulation?

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Law 2054 of 2020 indicates that, in order to reduce the social, animal abuse and public health consequences resulting from abandonment, a safe place should be established according to the financial capacity of the institutions (welfare centre, shelter, foster home). For these animals and if, after 30 days, they are not claimed by their owner, they will be placed in an adoption program. In the event that this center does not exist, the district or municipality should support the work of shelters or legally constituted foundations.

In major cities such as Bogota, Ibagué and Medellin, these wellness centers operate as dictated by Colombian regulations. On its part, Barranquilla inaugurated a month ago its center, which is located in the township of Juan Mina and whose construction was to begin in 2021 at a total cost of $3,258,397,240.

The municipal administration indicated, “The 3,100 m² building will house a kennel area with a capacity of 84 dogs, 30 places for cats, an area for 3 horses, as well as administrative and hospitalization areas.”

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On the other hand, in the city of Cali, $14,500 million pesos were invested for the construction and endowment of the Animal Welfare Center. This location, as specified by the mayor’s office, will feature a veterinary clinic, laboratory, operating room, housing for small and major species of domestic fauna, as well as an adoption program.

Although the work began in April 2021 and should have been delivered in December of that year, the delay in its execution, according to Liliana Sierra, director of the center, in a conversation with La Red Zoochial, “was caused by the 2021 A series of social outbreaks and climatic factors that halted the excavations”.

Subsequently, a new delivery in March 2022 was agreed, this time cut short due to the pandemic, until it began operations later this year. However, several city council officials have denounced the delay in providing the centre, to which Sierra replied that “this is a transition process where both the health secretary and Dogma are delegating their functions” and clarified that the center will always continue to operate. Will be in renewal as the equipment has run out and requires the opening of contract procedures.

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But these contracting processes are no longer viable, at least in the time the current administration has left. On 29 June, the Guarantee Law came into force which prohibits state entities of the regional order from entering into contracts in the direct contract method during the four months immediately before elections. That way, some CBAs will be the responsibility of the incoming administration and promises can remain up in the air.

At La Red Zoochial we reported on the contracting processes, delays and failures that resulted in the delivery or start-up of some of these shelters.

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