Only a few months ago, the eyes of animal lovers around the world were on Madrid to see if it would euthanize the dog Excalibur after his owners were quarantined for ebola infection. Unfortunately for all, Excalibur was killed by government order in early October of last year.
Today, Excalibur would have had a much better chance of surviving the panic around ebola. On March 12, the Madrid Assembly voted unanimously to pass a law forbidding the euthanizing of stray dogs, making Madrid officially a no-kill city.
The new law is largely thanks to the work of El Refugio, a local animal rescue and advocacy group. The organization has been pushing for a no-kill policy in Madrid for 19 years, and last year it collected 62,000 signatures supporting a change in the law. To celebrate, volunteers and supporters of El Refugio gathered in Puerta Del Sol, the city’s central square, holding a large pink sign with the words, “La Muerte Ha Muerto.” (“Death is Dead.”)
“Today is one of the happiest days of our lives,” said Nacho Paunero, the President of El Refugio. “[We have] been fighting for 19 years to make Madrid and the surrounding areas no-kill. We said we would never stop fighting until accomplishing our goal, and we have finally done it!”
Since 1990, Madrid’s policy has been that homeless animals who aren’t claimed or adopted 10 days after being brought into the shelter can be euthanized. According to El Refugio, 130,000 dogs and cats were killed between 2006 and 2012. That ends now. Our congratulations to El Refugio and the people of Madrid for doing the right thing.
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