The SOS Perrera de Los Barrios shelter for abandoned dogs over the border in Spain has often been subjected to torrential rain and flooding that occurs not just once a year, but often twice. This has caused devastation to the kennels leading to huge salvage operations from locals in the Campo de Gibraltar area as well as people from Gibraltar who have come together to find temporary shelters within foster carers and private kennels for the animals. However, this creates incredible stress and danger to the dogs and volunteers as they evacuate the dogs.
Carol Newman, part of the fundraising team for the charity, explains how the cost of running the original site is about €200,000 a year and money is still needed to keep that going at the moment. Thankfully, due to the generosity of two very generous donors, one a businessman from Gibraltar, funds have been provided to purchase a more suitable piece of land on higher ground where the dogs will be able to stay in a safe and secure environment until they can be found permanent homes.
Carol says that all the plans have been approved and it is a beautiful large piece of land that is quite high up so it won’t be liable to flooding in the future. “There will be loads of room for play areas for the dogs, with an on-site veterinary clinic which will be available for people from the local community to take their dogs to if they can’t afford to pay full price vet fees.” Added to this there will be a visitor’s centre and an education centre. “We want it to be based on the idea of a UK shelter, and not have it called a pound anymore,” Carol states. If anyone knows the UK TV programme ‘The Dog House’ that follows the rescue charity Dogs Trust matching homeless dogs with hopeful dog owners, Carol says that they hope to emulate that with fenced off areas so that there are no distractions when dogs meet their potential adopters.
“The fundraising that is ongoing to keep the current pound running is nowhere near enough to cover the massive costs of building and equipping a new shelter,” she says. “The land has been fully fenced now and water has been installed and we are ready to start planting trees to line the fenced perimeter, but we still need a huge injection of funding to continue with the build.”
Los Barrios is essentially a council pound that holds approximately three hundred dogs. “All dogs, regardless of age or condition, whether they are pregnant or have puppies, are accepted into the pound,” Carol says. “Once at the pound, they are cared for, fed and receive veterinary care, including spaying and neutering.”
Eight hundred dogs a year pass through the pound, with a third being adopted, mostly in Spain, some in Gibraltar, and the rest going to countries in Europe.
Adopting or fostering a dog can be life changing, not just for the dog who benefits from a safe and loving home, but also for the adopter and their family. For all the love we give them, dogs seem to always give us triple the love in return.
The pound is run and funded entirely by volunteers and donations. “We have a lot of Spanish volunteers as well as a high percentage of foreigners, including British, Scandinavians, Germans, and Finnish,” Carol states. “A lot of the dogs go to Finland and Germany as well as to the UK.” There are also people who volunteer their services, such as a lawyer, who are not involved directly.
Fundraising is a constant task and instead of just thinking about doing small fundraisers which is what has happened in the past, Carol says that they now need to make it bigger. “There is no way that we can make the money that is needed just in the local area,” she states.
In an attempt to raise more funds, Carol is currently applying to international animal funds. “I have got three applications in at the moment, to funds mostly based in the UK, but they supply funds all around the world and in Europe and we are waiting to hear back from them.”
Another great way to support the charity is by popping into the SOS Los Barrios Charity Shop Duquesa, situated in the Gallery area in La Duquesa Port. The shop is full of good quality second hand items and clothing and generates a regular income for the charity. “All the money raised in the shop goes into the fund for the new shelter and anything that is raised outside of the general week-to week, month-to-month running of the pound is also put into the shelter fund.”
Carol would like to thank everyone for their support. “Now we have the hard task of raising enough money to make the shelter the best place we can for all the discarded dogs in the Campo Gibraltar. This task is huge and we ask everyone to raise as much as they can, in any way they can!”
Just as we were about to publish this article, the fundraising team had some fantastic news. “One of the foundations we applied to, The Sunley Foundation, have pledged £100,000 once the build is under way. Also one of the vets that helps on castration days has pledged to buy the equipment for the new veterinary centre.” Carol says, adding that they are ‘over the moon’ to learn about this wonderful support.
You can help the SOS Perrera de Los Barrios team make their dream a reality and ensure that the dogs will not have the fear of flooding each and every winter by donating to the fund.
Donations can be made by:
Bank transfer ES19 2100 8508 5402 0018 7104
Via the Go Fund Me account: ‘Help Los Barrios build their new shelter’ (the money goes directly into the SOS fund), or via PayPal through the website: www.perreradelosbarrios.com
More information can be found on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/soslosbarrios