Madrid charity dog walk draws hundreds against animal abandonment

By Elena Rodriguez

MADRID (Reuters) – Hundreds of canines and their owners took to the streets of Madrid on Saturday for the city’s traditional Sanperrestre walk to raise awareness about animal abandonment.

The festive version of the year-end San Silvestre race is organized by animal protection group El Refugio which campaigns against animal abuse and works to re-home abandoned dogs and cats.

“A dog is all love and it’s a shame that […] people buy them like toys and then abandon them,” said 66-year-old Susana Isabel Fernandez, who was marching along with her dog Rita.

“It’s a crime.”

Excited pooches, some donning Santa costumes and other festive outfits, passed by the Puerta del Sol and other landmarks of the capital with their owners who topped off the event with Spain’s New Year’s Eve tradition of eating 12 grapes.

(Reporting by Elena Rodriguez; Writing by Elena Rodriguez and Pietro Lombardi; Editing by Christina Fincher)