By Damon Mitchell • 25 June 2020 • 13:03
ALL dogs that arrive here, by one way or another, first stay in a holding area for 10 days. This is run by a private company called Zoosanitario. They have a contract with the councils of seven municipalities in the Campo de Gibraltar to collect stray dogs from these municipalities. If no owners come forward after 10 days, or if a dog is handed in by their owner, they are then handed over into the capable hands of the charity SOS Perrera Los Barrios see FB page SOS PERRERA LOS BARRIOS who look after the dogs, on land provided free of charge by the owner of Zoosanitario, but the money has to be found to run the pound from then on. Not an easy task!
The year 2009 saw a group of volunteers embarking on rescuing the dogs and they set up the charity SOS Pererra Los Barrios, which became official in 2016.
The pound is also supported by SSD (Spanish Stray Dogs) see FB page by the same name and SSD (UK), two more registered charities, both of which actively raise funds both here in Spain and also in the UK. Since 2012 SSDUK has taken nearly a thousand dogs out of Spain, to be adopted into loving families, mainly in the UK but also other European countries. Also, for the last three years, they send €4,000 a month to help with food and veterinary care. In 2018 SSD also opened two charity shops in the area of Duquesa Marina, which are well-supported by the local community. The shops are open six days a week and can be found on FB page SSD CHARITY SHOP DUQUESA. You are very welcome to shop, donate or volunteer. They sell everything from table mats to winter coats. Due to size restrictions, however, they are unable to accept large items of furniture.
However, the pound is always stretched to its limits, as every dog is given an opportunity here, and times are hard! Mostly due to Covid-19, charities are suffering, along with most other organisations, and funds are very low. The shops had to close for several weeks and there have been no fundraisers for months.
Some of the dogs will live out their entire lives at the pound. For others, it may be the only life they will ever know. Some are strays, many are abandoned and abused, not trusting humans and scared. These are particularly vulnerable in the pound and subject to attacks from other dogs. The volunteers strive to put these into private kennels, where they will be safer, but again, this costs money, money which is in short supply.
The pound is run by a very dedicated group of volunteers. There are usually around 300+ dogs there and it is ALWAYS stretched to full capacity. Many of the dogs will find their first bit of human kindness here and are delighted if a volunteer gives them a friendly word, a few strokes or even takes them for a walk.
Luckily too, there is a dedicated team of expats and Spanish locals who constantly donate and collect and deliver food, bedding, cleaning materials and sometimes medical supplies. See FB page Food for Los Barrios Dogs if you want to be involved. Caring people in the community also organise fundraisers to help improve the conditions at the pound eg proper kennels, beds, shaded areas, a washing machine, fences and barriers, concrete paths, puppy areas etc. Over the years, you can now see the improvements that have been made there by our wonderful dog-loving community.
The volunteers are always desperate to find not only adoptive homes, but also foster carers in the area. Foster carers need to be kind, caring and patient, able to assist these dogs with their transition period to their new lives. Many will be scared and never have lived indoors! Mentors are provided to assist with any initial worries or concerns.
The dogs also need people who are capable of either helping or indeed organising ways to raise funds. Even new and novel ideas would be welcome! Funds are needed not just for the obvious things like food and veterinary care but also flea and tick treatment, cleaning materials, repairs and improvements of the pound etc.
Please be aware, that at the moment, due to Covid-19, visits are by appointment only between 9am and 11am and can be made via the FB page. No children are allowed at the moment and experienced dog walkers are preferred as the pound prefers the Pitbulls to be walked, as unfortunately they are caged all day.
If you think you can be of help with any of the above please e-mail email@example.com for further information or you can WhatsApp Sharon, General Manager on 044 7474 705187.
If you would like to donate you can easily do so by visiting https://spanishstraydogs.org.uk/donations/ A donation of just €11 can buy a 20kg bag of complete dog food for the pound.
Also, you could join our 365 club. This is where you choose a number not already taken and are then entered into a monthly money lottery. To discover more email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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From the interviewed to the interviewer
As frontman of a rock band Damon used to court the British press, now he lives the quiet life in Spain and seeks to get to the heart of the community, scoring exclusive interviews with ex-pats about their successes and struggles during their new life in the sun.
Originally from Scotland but based on the coast for the last three years, Damon strives to bring the most heartfelt news stories from the spanish costas to the Euro Weekly News.
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