One of the things which really angers me - and I know it angers the Spanish volunteers - is that the municipal councils really don't care about the stray dog problem. They provide council killing stations, as well as the privately run ones like Olivenza in Badajoz. I've received a letter from a Dutch supporter, Anita, who recently spent a couple of weeks volunteering at the privately run shelter in Cuenca,in the middle of an area full of hunters, between Madrid and Valencia. Here's what she wrote.
'I volunteered in the Cuenca refuge for about 16 days and was really in shock the first days. There are so many dogs and they never come out of their kennels. Among the dogs are many many galgos, some of them are afraid but they are never aggressive.
Only very rarely a galgo is adopted. They mostly live their whole life in the shelter that was a killing station for one year ago. And the saddest thing is that probably at the end of this year the shelter will become a killing station again and then they will kill most of all the animals !
You can see some of the dogs at www.arcoairis.com
Not all the dogs are on the site . There are lots more galgos in the shelter than on the website.
I made a weblog when I was volunteering and you can read it if you want. www.Anitaspanje.waarbenjij.nu You can see some of the pictures as well.
The situation now is that the 'killing station' is owned by the municipal council. In 2011 a woman called Pilar took over the licence and turned it into a refuge. She has it until the end of 2012. Then municipal council will distribute the licence again, but it is very likely that someone else who wants to make it again a killing station will get the new licence. This is because when someone has the licence, he can choose whether he decides to keep the dogs alive and leep the pound as a shelter or he can make it a killing station again.
Pilar payed 14,000 Euro last year and she will loose everything if she will not get a new licence at the end of this year again. The Spainish inspection is visiting almost every week because the station has far too many dogs. But that is not the fault of Pilar; when she got the licence, she signed for the fact that she was not allowed to refuse dogs. So she has to accept all the dogs that are found or left at the door of the shelter.
Also the inspectors say that the shelter is not clean enough and that is in fact true!
There were vets from Holland who neutralized the dogs for free, that was an incredible help, but the inspector came and has forbidden these operations in the shelter.
Almost everything in the shelter is a disaster.
There are no volunteers to help Pilar because there are a lot of hunters in the surroundings, there are many more galgos then I showed you in my pictures. It is possible they will break in and take the galgos for hunting again now.
There is a woman who lives about 80 km from Cuenca, she tries to keep the website up to date but it is never is up to date because she only comes once a month and new dogs are coming every day.
So at this moment they need a lot of help to prevent the shelter becoming a killing station again. They need to get rid of many galgos and a lot of other dogs - they need them fostering and adopting, so the number of the dogs in the shelter is reduced.'
If you can help in any way, contact Miranda van Blitterswij, who speaks English.
Initially they need help reducing the number of dogs there.