Animal carer stands accused of killing 'over 2,100' cats and dogs

The president of Parque Animal and her assistant in court.
The president of Parque Animal and her assistant in court. / Álvaro Cabrera
  • Carmen Marín is on trial for the “massive and unjustified” extermination of unwanted pets between 2008 and 2010 at the centre she ran

To owners entrusting their unwanted pets to Carmen Marín, she was a sweet, grandmotherly figure, who devoted her life to saving and protecting animals at the Parque Animal charity shelter in Torremolinos where she is president.

However prosecutors at her trial, which started this week, believe there is a darker side to Carmen and are accusing her, along with the centre’s maintenance head, of “the massive and unjustified” sacrifice of over 2,100 dogs and cats, three times more than the permitted limit, between 2008 and 2010 in “real extermination sessions”. Both defendants have denied the allegations.

The prosecution claims that Marín and her helper injected euthanasia drugs, in particular T-61 and Dolethal, without any previous sedation, directly into muscle tissue rather than intravenously and in a lower than normal dose “to save costs” which caused the animals a “slow agony”.

The alleged slaughter of animals first came to light in 2010 during a routine inspection of the facilities following a complaint. Marín has claimed that the inspection and subsequent investigation were motivated by unhappy ex-workers with a grudge.

During her time on the stand this week, Marín said that she had never injected euthanasia products and had a phobia of injections. She said that over the three years only 283 animals had been put down.

This contrasts with prosecution estimates, based on drugs used and weight of animals cremated, that thousands were put down to “reduce costs and turn the facilities into a private, paid-for operation”.

Marín said she was an animal lover “who doesn’t even dare to cut their nails”, refusing to answer questions from some of the several organisations who are part of the joint accusation. She denied knowing who signed the prescriptions for the drugs and when asked why she had so much of the drug in stock claimed that “there was a two for one offer” on the bottles.

The declarations of several ex- workers have contradicted Marín’s and her maintenance assistant’s version of events.

On day one of the trial, two vets and an assistant who helped wash dogs stated that they had seen her “injecting euthanasia product”. One of them claimed that Marín recommended using a lower dose of Dolethal “because they would die anyway” and that after two cats had been put down by mistake, the centre’s president asked for a vet certificate that the animals had been unwell.

“I saw her a thousand times”

On the second day of the trial , the secretary at the Parque Animal centre confirmed that she had seen Marín putting down cats and falsifying vets’ signatures sent to Torremolinos town council, who carried out the cremations of the animals.

“I’ve seen Carmen a thousand times with a bottle of euthanasia drug and a syringe in the pocket of her coat,”she explained.

Another witness went on to say how Marín had told her to never say the centre was full, with prosecutors believing that she was killing animals to make room for new ones as she was charging between 30 and 60 euros to admit a cat or dog.

Other witnesses highlighted that Marín “didn’t allow volunteers” at the shelter in case she was reported.

Prosecutors are seeking a four-year custodial sentence for Marín. The trial continues on December 9.