The Asociación de Amigos de los Animales Abandonados de Marbella, otherwise known as Triple A, was already having a difficult time before the coronavirus crisis. Now, with the country in lockdown, animals are not being adopted and donations have been suspended, not only of funds but also food, sanitary material, blankets and towels, and nor can fundraising events take place.
Jan Weima, the secretary of Triple A, told SUR that he is suffering more because of the effects of lockdown on the animals than himself.
“I hate not being able to be with them all the time. I’m finding it pretty hard,” he said, although he admitted that there is one good thing and that is “the peace and quiet at the shelter at the moment”.
Weima was worried about the lockdown continuing for a long time because “if it goes on for long, it will endanger the future of Triple A”.
Now aged 75, the co-founder of Triple A is confident that animal lovers will carry on supporting the association and its work. This basically consists of providing a shelter for abandoned animals and finding them a new home.
Since the state of alarm came into force, the association has received more than 40 requests from people who want to adopt an animal. However, they were wary. The fact that it was permitted to take dogs for a walk during lockdown, but until last weekend people couldn't go out for a walk themselves, perhaps led some to look for an excuse to go outside, and did not genuinely want to provide a home for a dog.
Weima said there has indeed been a great deal of recent interest. “We haven’t agreed to any of them yet, because our main concern is the wellbeing of the animal. If they were brought back to the shelter after the lockdown has finished, it would be very traumatic for them,” he explained.
Nevertheless, the association is still processing the requests by email, sending a questionnaire to the people who expressed an interest, to speed things up once the lockdown is over. They are also able to arrange virtual sponsorships, which are perfect for those who are unable to have an animal in their home.
This is very easy; all you have to do is look on the website to choose the animal you fall in love with and want to help. The next step is to take a note of its reference number and fill in a form.
Triple A has organised minimum services during the lockdown because the animals need attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The workers use protective equipment and their activity is considered an essential service.
Saturdays are the best days at the shelter because around 40 volunteers normally take the dogs for a walk on a nearby piece of land then. Now, the number has reduced to ten “veteran dog walkers” for the 250 dogs in the shelter.
Despite the lockdown, the number of animals brought into the shelter did not go down that much.
“There is less traffic and fewer people around at the moment and this has helped us to rescue the animals. It is not so stressful for them and they are not getting run over. In both cases, the police have collaborated with us,” said Jan Weima, who also wants to highlight the support the association receives from Marbella council.