Dogs and cats are being abandoned in Macau streets in record numbers and volunteer organisations are struggling to keep pace. Changes to legislation governing pet ownership is believed to be responsible for the spike. Albano Martins, general manager of Anima, the society for the protection of animals, said there had been a marked increase in abandoned animals over the past four months. Mr Martins said new regulations that will see animal owners fined if their pet is not registered were believed to be responsible for the increase. In Macau the cost to register a pet is 500 patacas for the first year, then 220 patacas for every year after. If the animal is not registered it is not eligible for vaccinations, including the rabies shot. 'The biggest problem we have in Macau is the cost of registration,' Mr Martins said. 'Many people are good owners but they cannot afford the high cost; it makes no sense when in Hong Kong it costs just HK$100.' Anima, a volunteer organisation based in Coloane, currently cares for about 90 abandoned dogs and 30 cats. The dogs include a Doberman, a St Bernard, a golden retriever and many mixed breeds. The organisation pays the cost of registering the animals, feeds them and takes care of them, with the hope that one day a suitable family will adopt them. Each month Anima takes in about 12 new abandoned dogs and several cats. The animals will relocate next month to a temporary shelter in Coloane built at a cost of one million patacas. Anima, which has about 400 members in Macau, is in the process of trying to secure funding to build a permanent shelter in a series of stages for 15 million patacas. Mr Martins said Anima's mission to care for Macau's unwanted dogs and cats was made extremely difficult due to a lack of volunteers. People are needed to walk and wash the dogs, feed the animals, assist with cleaning and help with other odd jobs. 'We do not want to see any animals killed and if we can get them in new homes that's the best outcome,' Mr Martins said. 'It is not easy with all the dogs - the puppies and pure breeds are popular, but the ones that are not adopted, we care for.' Anyone interested in adopting an animal or volunteering at the shelter can call 853 6685 5461 or 853 2870 3224.