The responsible ownership of cats and dogs comprises a set of duties for safeguarding the health and welfare of these animals as sentient beings. A pet’s quality of life largely depends on the owner's understanding of its specific needs, and his or her capacity to meet them. A responsible owner commits to take lifelong care of the animal. Therefore, responsible ownership directly connects to the social and financial situation as well as to the health status of the owner. In addition, responsible ownership is a means of reducing stray animal populations, the cost of stray animal management and the spread of disease, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
For this reason, the FOUR PAWS European Policy Office, together with the 'Istituto G. Caporale' (IZSAM) based in Teramo, Italy, initiated the CAROdog and CAROcat one-stop shop to communicate reliable scientific and legal knowledge and information about dogs and cats in Europe. The European Commission (EC), the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the Advisory Board on Cat Disease (ABCD) have also contributed their expertise to these projects. Largely focused on the issue of canine and feline overpopulation, CARO's multidisciplinary approach advocates an EU-wide strategy that relies on public awareness, education and training, political lobbying and better legislation to achieve the objectives of identification and registration (I&R), preventive veterinary care and systematic birth control – all fundamental elements of responsible ownership. I&R has been identified as key to reuniting animals and owners, as well as to fighting abandonment. CARO’s pioneer contribution to systematic population management has been to establish high-level, multi-stakeholder EU canine and feline traceability expert groups with the goal of designing a model solution for effective cat and dog traceability.
- Check the CAROdog and CAROcat websites to learn more about the responsible ownership of companion animals.
- Ask yourself the following questions before you adopt: can I be a responsible owner? What breed is best for me?
- Report animal abuse and illegal breeding to your local enforcement authorities.
- Support FOUR PAWS and CARO awareness campaigns by signing and sharing.