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Court orders closure of Costa del Sol animal shelter following complaints from local residents
Law

Court orders closure of Costa del Sol animal shelter following complaints from local residents

The refuge had been operating since 2016 but some people in the area had complained about the noise of barking dogs

Eugenio Cabezas

Vélez-Málaga

Sunday, 10 December 2023, 20:10

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El Refugio de Leo – a refuge for abandoned dogs – in Vélez-Málaga on the Costa del Sol has been forced to close as a judge ruled it did not have the necessary permits.

The provincial court judicial decision ratifies a previous sentence of a Malaga criminal court, following complaints from three neighbours about continuous barking of the animals at the rural location.

The animal shelter was founded in 2016 by local woman Lourdes Peláez. She said she would fight to keep operating. “I am not going to allow justice to take over the animal rescue or to be treated like a criminal, which is what they are doing.”

Peláez said she still has about 40 dogs that are trying to send to other shelters in the area. “But they are all full, we are overwhelmed,” she said.

Peláez also criticised the judge’s ruling and said that “as far as I know” there is no law against noise in this rural area. “The judge has not relied on any of that. Only that they [the dogs] annoy the neighbours. But they also bother people in the city and towns when they are loose or cause accidents. Which is better and who do they harm the most?,” the shelter founder said.

Peláez also said that mistreatment of animals was a long running problem in the Axarquía which must be addressed.

The founder of the shelter stressed that Spain's new Animal Welfare Law states that municipalities “must collaborate with the refuge's in a preferential way. But the Vélez-Málaga town hall tells me that there are enough such facilities in the area.”

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