Rome

Animals hotline launched ahead of annual abandonment season

24-hour free number hopes to help pets, lower highway accidents

Animals hotline launched ahead of annual abandonment season

Rome, June 26 - To combat Italy's phenomenon of seasonal animal abandonment, the National Association for the Protection of Animals (ENPA) said on Wednesday that starting in July a 24-hour hotline will be active for anyone who spots or finds unattended dogs or cats wandering the country's roads. Some 20 operators and ENPA staff will help callers identify the police in their area to alert. Animals left wandering the highways are not only at risk themselves, but also present safety-hazard to motorists. Italian highway police said that in 2012 there were 66,100 car accidents involving animals, both wild and abandoned, up 6% from 2010. The hotline is supported by the state police, health ministry, Pizzardi publishing house, nonprofit group Mediafriends who will run the communications campaign and animal rights group the Scuola di Interazione Uomo-Animale (School of Man-Animal Interaction). The free number is 800-137-079.

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