The Marbella animal shelter Triple A is on the verge of closing according to senior bosses at the charity.
The organisation claims that following a raid by the Guardia Civil's nature protection unit Seprona last year, both memberships and donations have fallen dramatically.
The work of the shelter was thrown under suspicion in April 2016 when several members of the organisation and volunteers were arrested and questioned.
A judicial inquiry into a number of allegations connected with the shelter’s work is ongoing. The court’s decision as to whether or not to take the case any further is expected later this year although the investigation has been described as “complex”.
Meanwhile the charity, which rejects the allegations, has launched an appeal for more members, volunteers and donations in order to keep the shelter open.
Jan Weima, 72, a volunteer and founding member at Triple A (Amigos de Animales Abandonados), told SUR in English:
“I am afraid this is the consequence of the raid carried out by Seprona on 11 April last year. The memberships went down, the donations went down and we had a great number of young dogs dropped off, most of them unwanted Christmas presents.
“On top of that we had a massive increase in the amount of hunting dogs being abandoned when the hunting season came to an end. The outgoings have increased dramatically and this led us to the fact that without money the Triple A could face possible closure,” he said.
“If we don’t get more support we might have to hand over the keys to the town hall,” Weima added. “We can’t keep begging for money to keep the charity open. You just can’t run a business or a charity like Triple A that way.”
Triple A’s monthly running costs total €30,000, and at present the shelter looks after 300 dogs and 140 cats.
Weima explained that to become a member of Triple A costs €5 a month. At present, the charity has 350 members. “We will be grateful for small donations as well as large ones. But most of all we need to increase the number of members, this will give us a more or less fixed yearly income,” he said.
Triple A re-homes pets around Spain but the majority of dogs are adopted by people in Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Finland and Sweden.
Formed in 1991, the charity is located in a disused mine on the Carretera de Ojén and covers Marbella and San Pedro.
In addition, Jan said more volunteers are always welcome from all nationalities - especially for dog walking every Saturday morning when all of the dogs are taken out for a weekly walk by dozens of international volunteers.
Jan, who is originally from Holland, added: “If anybody is thinking of adopting a dog or a cat we ask them kindly to look at our web page www.tripleamarbella.org where they can also become a member.”