Court Orders Closure of Animal Shelter in Vélez-Málaga

Animal shelter faces closure due to legal dispute Image: Shutterstock/ Alin_Kris

EL REFUGIO DE LEO, an animal shelter operating since 2016 in Vélez-Málaga, founded by Lourdes Peláez, faces closure due to neighbour complaints about dogs’ barking. The shelter, situated between Vélez-Málaga and Arenas, now ceases operations after a court ruling mandating its closure.

Legal Battle Leads to Closure

The closure stems from a lack of necessary permits. The Provincial Court upheld the decision following complaints from three neighbours about the continuous dog barking in this rural location, situated over seven kilometres from any inhabited urban area.

Despite rescuing an average of 180 animals annually, finding new homes for them, and providing educational initiatives, the shelter faces overwhelming challenges. Peláez questions the judgment’s basis solely on neighbour discomfort without considering broader implications.

Community Impact and Welfare Concerns

While the new Animal Welfare Law emphasises municipal support for shelters, Peláez criticises the local government’s lack of assistance. She remains determined to fight against what she perceives as unjust treatment and negligence towards animals, emphasising Spain’s lag in animal welfare and urging improved support from local authorities.

The closure of El Refugio de Leo raises concerns not only about animal welfare but also about discrepancies in rural regulations and community support for shelters in Vélez-Málaga.


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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!

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