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Evicted Spanish shelter's urgent appeal

The Santa Clara dog shelter in Spain is desperately raising funds to build a new shelter after the land it was located on is sold.

Volunteers at the no kill shelter in Tobarra have been offered a bare piece of land by the local town council which has now been cleared and flattened ready for development. They hope to begin building soon, but time is ticking to raise the 86,000 euros needed.

Vice President of Santa Clara dog shelter Margaret Wormington is appealing for donations. She first got involved with the shelter after she and her husband moved to the area from the UK a few years ago. When the last of her three elderly dogs passed away, Margaret decided she wanted another Greyhound and asked her vet about local rescues. She discovered a new shelter which had a special case who desperately needed a home. When they visited, they met a four month old, blind Galgo puppy called Tigger.

"It was love for me at first sight and we adopted Tigger," says Margaret. "He had been found by one of the volunteers as they walked their dog. She heard cries and looked around to see a plastic carrier bag hanging from a tree. When opened there was four Galgo pups inside of which three were already dead. Tigger was the only survivor and he was about three days old."

Tigger

He was nursed by the shelter's volunteers but once he became mobile, they noticed a problem with his sight. Tests revealed he was almost completely blind and nothing could be done, but despite this, Margaret offered him a home.

She adds, "He grew up to be a super loving dog and he learnt how to find his way around quite easily. So happy to have him in our lives."

Tigger

Supporting the shelter

Soon after, Margaret decided to get another dog and revisited the centre but was shocked when she looked around.

"The volunteers that we met were so welcoming and so happy to hear how well Tigger was doing but my mouth fell to the floor as i looked around the shelter. I guess I expected proper kennels, same as I had visited in England but NO! The dogs did have shelter, just, the word basic does not cover it. The kennels had been made from old wooden pallets, bed frames as gates, rip ties holding thing together. The dogs did not have beds, they had fruit boxes or cardboard boxes.

"I was told that they were not allowed to build any permanent structures so had to make do with this. Then I saw them being fed on stale bread; that was all they could have as money was so short. I stood and cried when I thought about what my dogs eat and where they sleep on a nice soft bed and in a warm home. I went straight to a supermarket and brought 10 sacks of food and said that I would be back!"

Margaret did go back, bringing with her food for the dogs. As she became more and more involved with the shelter she was eventually asked to be vice president in 2015, making her the first English volunteer at the Spanish shelter.

"I have always had rescue dogs but never before have I been on the front line and seeing what goes on first hand has opened my eyes. I can not count the amount of dogs injured that we have collected, saved from being killed by their owners, dogs that have been beaten almost to death and left to starve in a locked up house. The stories go on and on but so do we! Since 2010 we have saved hundreds of dogs and homed hundreds too."

Next challenge

The shelter now has a new problem on its hands. They must vacate the land they were previously based on and move to a bare piece of land. The volunteers need to raise 86,000 euros - approximately £75,902 - to build a brand new shelter and fundraising is currently underway.

Work is currently underway

Margaret says, "I am asking on behalf of the dogs at Santa Clara, if anyone would like to donate a pound or two or more towards this very genuine cause. We have 30 dogs who need to move to the new shelter and need it built very soon.

"It is amazing the dedication the volunteers have for these poor abandoned, abused and unwanted dogs with such very basic conditions for the dogs to live in.  Just imagine what they could do with a new shelter. They will have kennels, beds, running water, electricity, a clinic where dressings can be done and we will be able to help up to 70 dogs. We can make a huge difference to the dogs here in Tobarra. We need your help so that we can continue to save lives."

To donate via PayPal their email is santaclaratobarra@gmail.com or by cheque, make payable to A.P.A Santa Clara can be sent c/o Villa Lola, Pozo Ladron, Ayna, 02125. Albacete, Spain. For more details and payment options contact Margaret at santaclaratobarra@gmail.com.