Insurance for Dogs

The Commissioner of the Cañada Real creates a protocol to save the animals – Health Insurance

Aitor Santos Moya



The hell of Drogo ended the day when a group of volunteers rescued him wandering, with his leg broken, between the barracks of the conflictive Sector 6 of the Cañada Real. His owner had abandoned him with a wire tied to one of its extremities. For six months, this greyhound’s fear of any contact with the human being led him to flee from everything – and from everyone – for mere survival. Until one day he was hooked on a fence and his particular « rope » was about to cost him his death. « Such was the panic he had, that two people approached him to help him and Drogo pulled and pulled the wire until the leg was torn off, » says the president of the Animal Rescue Team (ERA) association, Susana Rubio, who, with the help of other colleagues, he was able to rescue him after six months of hard work.

Like Drogo, there are many animals in a situation of helplessness that now, with the beginning of dismantling of Sector 6, have blown all the alarms. After several meetings with the Madrid City Council (to which this area belongs entirely), the regional government, the Madrid Association of Pet Veterinarians (Amvac), Protectors and Project Canada (which focuses its rescue efforts in this long-lived market of the drug of the capital), the Commissioner of the Government of the Community of Madrid for the Cañada Real Galiana constituted last October a working table for animal protection.

In the first session, the commissioner’s sources explain, an action protocol has been established to safeguard its integrity in each of the undertaken relocations. « Through Project Canada we make an inventory of the animals that families have and study their casuistry, » they stress, in a work that includes Two boarding line: «We differentiate, on the one hand, those animals that cannot be carried, such as exotic or invasive species; and, on the other, those who would have the possibility of being transferred to their new homes ».

The choice of the latter corresponds to the outgoing inhabitants, that have the obligation to put the chip, vaccinate them, deworm them and, optionally, also sterilize them. « The animals that they host in their new homes are usually small dogs, » says Project Canada spokeswoman Isabel Sanz, aware that the so-called potentially dangerous dogs, cats, horses and other farm species, such as chickens, goats or Vietnamese pigs , should be referred to other spaces: «The City Council says it has no capacity to accommodate them, so it is we who are collecting all we can, who are looking for a residence (in the case of dogs) with the objective end of ending in family foster homes ».

Skeleton of a hanged greyhound

In the case of farm animals, the so-called sanctuaries (outdoor places where they can remain indefinitely) represent the desired destination for the protectors. « We try to avoid at all costs that they end up being slaughtered in a slaughterhouse, » adds Sanz. For four years, two officially, Project Canada travels weekly Sector 6 next to a veterinarian so that families can bring their animals closer: « In all this time we have not managed to make people aware that the dog is a companion animal, instead of a surveillance instrument that can be discarded once they do not need it. »

For this reason, the work of social entities and mediating teams seems fundamental to make families aware that animals cannot be abandoned. « We are in talks with Proyecto Cañada and other protectors to carry out information campaigns and establish a second protocol of action in the face of these types of situations, » said the commissioner. Before moving to their new flats, the inhabitants of the Canada who leave with dogs, especially those potentially dangerous, receive a training course to facilitate the coexistence with the rest of neighbors. In these situations, they have to take the corresponding licenses and lower them to the street with the muzzle on and a belt of less than 2 meters.

Extreme bailouts

Two volunteers rescue a greyhound through a cage

For the most complex rescue operations, the Animal Rescue Team (ERA) works in continuous collaboration with Proyecto Cañada in order to prevent abandoned animals from starving or resulting from the wounds caused by some uncivil inhabitants. “In La Canada there is everything, people who take care of their animals and others who, when they no longer serve them, choose the option to leave them to their fate and even kill them,” says Susana Rubio, with the cruel experience of having witnessed heartbreaking scenes: « We have found dogs destroyed, hanged, with bullet shots … Cats that are used as targets, while some neighbors of the Canada have seen even the skeleton of a mutilated zebra. »

This team works with routines, that is, food primers that they place in the same place and at the same time to attract hungry animals and thus be able to capture them. There are many occasions, however, that this task requires effort and time. « We can spend whole nights waiting without luck for a copy to appear or that when we go to catch it, it will be terrified, » Rubio emphasizes. In these cases, they use a series of « traps » so that they end up entering large cages, previously placed.

Unlike Project Canada (which takes over 85 percent of the animals that save -the rest derive them-), ERA is only dedicated to rescue tasks, with Animals with a new course (Acunr) being the protector that hosts the largest number of species released by its team: «Luckily not We are the only ones who actively work in La Cañada, there are other associations and individuals with whom we have been collaborating closely for years: those of Proyecto Cañada and Acunr, La Luz animal, PPPeludos Adoptions Toledo, Baby-Face, Classy Chuchos, Fighting for PPPs, Life4Pitbulls, TAO Centro Canino, Terrican Adopta, Trapitos LaPi, Animalejos, Doganzo, Greyhounds of the Sun, Las Nieves, My Friend with 4 Legs … ». Anonymous heroes who offer a second chance to the most forgotten inhabitants of the Canada.