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In summertime, utterly heartless and cruel owners not only leave dogs and cats to their own destinies, but also other small domestic animals like rabbits, fish, turtles and rodents.

Every year, many animalist associations run campaigns to prevent the abandonment of dogs and cats, but this phenomenon is not limited to only summer and even includes the abandonment of some 200,000 other animals as well.

The thousands of aquarium fish, often tropical ones, that are poured with their water into rivers and canals have a serious impact on those ecosystems.

Every year, 35,000 turtles are released into ponds and lakes, while thousands of snakes, iguanas and other exotic animals are left in woods.

More than 20,000 small rodents and house rabbits are sent into the countryside on their own, the owners convinced they’ll make it just fine. But they don’t, they fall prey to other larger animals who habitually live in those environments.

Although pet-friendly hotels are growing in number here in Italy, the abandonment of pets continues unabated. We need to know what to do if we see someone leaving their pet out in the wild or if we find an animal that seems to have been abandoned.

If we do notice someone leaving their animal to its own destiny, we have the moral obligation to take note of the car’s plate and report what we saw to the police.

These days, almost all domestic dogs and cats have a microchip under their skin telling us who their owner is. If we find an abandoned pet, we can call the local police or veterinary service who will be able to contact the owner to see if the pet was really left behind or was just lost. When it comes to other animals, the authorities should be called so that the poor little beasts can be picked up and get the right treatment they deserve.

The abandonment of an animal is a crime punishable by a year in jail and a fine of anywhere from a thousand to ten thousand euro. But more than that, an act of cruelty of this nature is simply morally wrong.

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