Irresponsible pet owners

One of the many problems here in Spain, isn’t just the fact that there is outright cruelty and abandonment but there is a problem of no respect for pets and […]

One of the many problems here in Spain, isn’t just the fact that there is outright cruelty and abandonment but there is a problem of no respect for pets and their welfare.

Here where I live, in a small village I know many people that do seem to like animals but have no idea of the suffering they cause to them through not respecting them, or having empathy towards them. I have taken a dog from my neighbour who suffered a broken back after being hit by a car, he was just left to drag around his poor little body for five days before I saw him, unable to pooh or wee and in agony, they just smiled and told me casually he was hit by a car! With a shoulder shrug from them I took him away to the vet and sent him to Rainbow Bridge. I could not convey to them that their apathy was wrong; they just didn’t understand or care. These people own around 7 dogs!!

Puppies left to run in the road.Recently another of my neighbours was allowing her dog and its pups to run around loose, in the road, chasing cars, running in the fields in danger from other large dogs, out in all weathers and never allowed in the house of course. These are tiny vulnerable dogs. Why does she keep them, because they bark, she tells me? I asked her would it not be an idea to have the Mother neutered, no more pups and a healthier dog that will not stray from the front door. ‘No’, she said, ‘why should I spend money, when the pups can be killed at birth’!!! So she tells me quite casually, she had destroyed five pups herself and allowed three to live. One of these pups had a bad eye. I had to play it carefully, as she had already accused me of stealing one of her dogs a few years ago. Not me, I hasten to add but one of my students who thought the poor thing was in such a state it must be a stray, the poor little thing always in my house for some food and attention.

I asked her if I could take the little one with a bad eye and thankfully in time, we called her Amelia and she was operated on and her eye saved – many people on Facebook got involved and helped, she is now with a fantastic foster carer. The volunteers networking are always a Godsend in time of need!! Now little Amelia has a forever home waiting in the UK. Sadly her siblings are missing and I have been accused of taking one of them.

At the time the same neighbour pointed to her empty swimming pool where there were four tiny kittens at the bottom; I didn’t really understand why, or whether she was just showing me, or what she planned to do; I guess nothing. Just more animals to run around the campo, going hungry, getting diseases, or being run over.

A few weeks ago we had a massive storm. It started at 3am, the rain coming down in sheets. As always I lay awake thinking of all the animals outside but this time I was panicking, OH no, the swimming pool would be filling up and the helpless kittens would drown. I woke my partner, (who cares as much as I do, thankfully) and we grabbed raincoats and went to the neighbours house. We broke into the garden and sure enough the pool was filling up and there were already a couple of inches of water on the bottom. The kittens had clambered onto some soaking wet debris trying to stay out of the water. Another hour and they all would have drowned. It wasn’t particularly easy catching them, the rain was heavy, the pool was filling up and the kittens were terrified. One of them was determined not to be caught, of course they didn’t realise we were trying to help them. I got a nasty bite but it was worth it, they were safe.

However, now what? I had nowhere to put them, a houseful of retreat guests, nine dogs – seven of which hate cats and a partner who is allergic. So into the laundry room they went. My friend came along a few days later and took them off my hands, but this is the problem; we rescue and then we don’t know what to do with the animals we rescue!! My friend now has the kittens and as they get bigger they are still in danger, as her many foster dogs will not necessarily tolerate the cats.  One is homed and three still desperately needing homes.

I have written to the neighbours and told them what I feel and asked them if they will help by changing their attitude but I have not posted this letter yet. I am afraid they will laugh at me; in fact I know they will laugh at me. I hope to have a much stronger plan than that, we will work towards it but it is going to take a long time to educate these people. I have rescued approximately one hundred and forty dogs since being in this village. The majority of them neighbours dogs and pups that are not wanted.

This is a situation that many people living in villages in Spain, who care for animals, will recognise, as it is commonplace.

It can’t go on we don’t have the resources. We have to do something. Please support ACTIN in its aims to educate.