A study carried out by the Affinity Foundation Monitor revealed that the economic crisis in Spain has led to the number of cases of abandonment "shooting up".
Economic problems caused by failing to consider the cost of pet ownership were cited as the reason for 15 per cent of abandonments, according to Spanish daily ABC.
"Type of coat and weight are two of the factors that determine the cost of keeping an animal in terms of hygiene and feedng. Veterinary bills also need to be included, together with possible health problems, security measures, rest, toys and a multitude of other things which people don't automatically consider, resulting in animal shelters being overwhelmed," said pet company Kiwoko which commissioned the study.
The difficulty of going on holiday with pets leads to many abandonments in summer. Other excuses given for getting rid of pets included unexpected litters (19 per cent), loss of interest (10 per cent), the end of hunting season (9 per cent) and behavioural problems (8 per cent)
Half of the abandoned animals are re-housed with new owners but the rest meet a less happy end.
Over 1,000 animals a year are adopted through the 18 centres belonging to Kiwoko, which said, "Abandonment is never justified. There is a constant fight to change the law in favour of pets in order to be able to punish those who mistreat or abandon them."