Saturday, February 13, 2010

Live Arico - Whats your point of view..?

2/9/2012 - Since writing this post Live Arico have now been closed down and the dogs are under the care of Fecapap and a new Refuge in Fasnai.


The photos in this post  were sent to me by a volunteer who helps out  at the Live Arico rescue centre,  and one was originally posted on the Tenerife forum 

I recently visited the centre and I honestly have to say that the kennels and the dogs generally are in a bit of a sad state. Live Arico say that they are doing the best that they can with very limited recourses, but some people have expressed the opinion that it would be better for the dogs if the centre were to be shut down.

The purpose of this post is not to take sides, but to pose some questions for all those involved to think about carefully ...

1. Is it better for dogs to live in overcrowded (and potentially worse) conditions in rescue kennels, or are they better off on the street fending for themselves ?

2. if Live Arico were to be closed down, then where would the dogs go ? Presumably a lot of them would have too be put down, so is this a viable option ? nb of course some dogs from Live Arico do indeed find homes eventually.

3. Then there's the difficult and controversial issue of Euthanasia. Is it better to keep alive say an elderly dog with a terminal illness ? or a dog which is aggressive / potentially vicious and is very unlikely to find a home ? ... keeping it alive might well be detrimental to the other dogs in the kennels. Is it more cruel to keep a dog alive when it can have no real quality of life, than it is to 'put it to sleep' ?

So those are just a few of the difficult questions involved in this complex issue. Tenerife Dogs website aims to try and take a balanced point of view and puts the interests of the dogs above anything else. We would urge everyone to look for solutions that are in the dogs best interests, not to look for the negative but to facilitate positivity.

For instance, we would suggest that if anybody is thinking of getting a dog, adopting from Live Arico means one less dog living in difficult, overcrowded conditions.

Tenerife Dogs hopes to able to continue to support Live Arico by publicising fund-raising events and encouraging donations of time & money, so that conditions can be improved for the doggies, but we feel that it's our duty to raise issues which might not be very dog-friendly - as we have done in past stories here 

We would welcome your thoughts - you can post them in the comments section.
Quote from - Sue Havenhand, Vice President of live Arico (LAAP)
We at Live Arico are more than aware of the dire situation in the present location. It is not fit for the purpose and is overcrowded, which is why we have been desperately searching for a piece of land for some considerable time. Although this is now almost a reality, wheels turn very slowly here and all we can do is sit it out and wait. A further complication is that the refuge is now not even safe following a rock fall due to recent heavy rains.

Despite conditions at the refuge however, I still do not believe that dogs roaming the streets is a better option. At least with Eugenio they are fed and have a possibility of rehoming. Many of our dogs were sent to Germany for rehoming last year, and their happy end tales can be read on , it is lovely to see them running in gardens and enjoying themselves.

Eugenio has provided a service to the Ayuntamientos in the south for several years, and is the first port of call for the police and authorities when dealing with abandoned animals, so he does have more animals than the other refuges, yet sadly has probably the worst location for a refuge.
We are currently working hard to bring about change, and we believe a change of location will be the beginning of a better situation for the dogs.

With regard to euthanasia, Live Arico shares the ethos of the Dogs Trust, who "never put a healthy dog to sleep".We thank Tenerife Dogs for bringing our plight to a wider audience, and can only say again, please consider a Live Arico dog for your pet.


  1. I certainly don't think that LA should be closed down but I do think the numbers should be reduced. While I appreciate in a lot of ways that Eugenio is doing a good job I also think that he refusal to have some dogs put to sleep is both mis-guided and irresponsible. It is certainly not doing any kindness to the majority of the dogs in LA.

    Ordinarily I would not say the dogs are better on the streets but seeing the conditions they are in I do wonder. Some of them are very stressed not only by the over-crowding but by the fights that occur.

    While I know Dogs Trust do not put a healthy dog to sleep, I also think they do not keep their dangerous dogs in the same compound as other meek, timid and smaller dogs. There is after all a Dangerous Dogs Act and this should also apply to LA.

  2. Thanks for your well balanced comment.

    I do agree with you there needs to be a reduction in animals at LA, as the quality of life due to overcrowding must be affecting the dogs.

    At least stop from taking on even more dogs until the ones that are in the shelter are found homes.

  3. LA must stop taking on any more dogs.

    A veterinary surgeon in Valle San Lorenzo said that 50 dogs is the maximum limit and the numbers need to be drastically reduced to enable at least some of the dogs to have the chance to be treated for fleas, worms, heartworm etc, and then the possibility of re-homing.

    It is all very well saying that LA follows the ethos of The Dogs Trust. However they are on a different scale to LA. Dogs Trust is run as a profitable business, has thousands of pounds and hundreds of people both employed or as volunteers.

    LA is in no position to follow the ethos of Dogs Trust until the dogs it already has in its kennels are kept in clean comfortable conditions are healthy, neutered and vaccinated.

  4. Why should they be shut down? They are keeping dogs of the streets from being run over, starving and everything else. They are in a pack and have a man who has devoted his life to them. He is getting new land which will make the situation alot better, more room for the dogs and a dream for Euegnio. I cannot wait till he gets the land and shows every one what he is actualy capable of in turning a temporary situation into a perminant one with sectioned of pens etc. I fully 100% beleive in Euegnio and I support him 100%.

  5. Reply to the previous post - Do you know how long the dogs will have to wait before they are moved to more suitable conditions..?

    As one poster said a Vet claimed only 50 dogs max should be in LA.

  6. Nikki, this must have been an incredibly difficult post to write and I admire you for putting 'pen to paper' (fingers to keyboard).

    It is such an emotive subject that people really do get very upset if someone else has a different opinion about what is right and what is wrong.

    Eugenio and his team have to be commended for what they are trying to achieve, HOWEVER, and it is a big however, they must also realise that it is impossible to do this without full support from the 'official channels' which is very unlikely to happen in the immediate future.

    In the meantime perhaps a wider more long term view should be taken. I have looked at the Dogs Trust policies and procedures and I have a looked at the RSPCA ones (as well as a lot of others during my time working with K9) and there are some excellent words in all of them, and yes they still have in house arguments about implementation!

    They are however much larger and much more established than any of the Rescue organisations here in Tenerife. They are being run by (and don't take this the wrong way) professionals who can take an independent view to certain things that need to be carried out to allow the Charities to function properly and efficiently.

    In the UK the Animal Welfare Act says that pets/animals should be looked after to certain standards by providing these five basic needs:

    * somewhere suitable to live

    * a proper diet, including fresh water

    * the ability to express normal behaviour

    * for any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals

    * protection from, and treatment of, illness and injury.


    Before anyone says it, I realise we are not in the UK but these five principals are well thought out and have been implemented after considerable research into what is good and what is not - for the animals!

    Can anyone truly say that the animals in question are being provided with these five (very basic) welfare needs?

  7. Thanks Stephen for your post, you have made some very good points.

    And thanks to the rest of the posters for contributing, it has raised a stimulating debate.

  8. Eugenio's heart is in the right place, but his head definitely isn't.

    As the vet says 50 dogs maxmimum - the dogs already at LA need to come first.

  9. I would just like to say to anyone who intends posting to try not to get too personal please :)

  10. I agree this must have been a very difficult post for you to put on here, Nikki as I know how supportive you are of all the dog shelters on the island. But it has raised some issues that many people, myself included, would prefer not to have to face.
    There are times when it is more humane to have an animal put to sleep than to keep it alive with no prospect of improving its current health or living conditions. It's a terrible bullet to have to bite but it's a part of every vet's job and it should be a part of the animal welfare owner's job too.

    When a situation like Live Aricos becomes untenable, they have to face the lesser of evils. The fact is there are too many dogs in unsuitable conditions. There are only two things they can do; increase the size of the land they occupy or reduce the number of dogs. As one seems to be currently outwith their control, they have no choice but to implement the other.

    My heart goes out to them all, Eugenio and the volunteers. They're doing a valient job under impossible circumstances.

  11. As someone who has been to the shelter, & met the dogs. I have to say my first thoughts were -how heartbreaking. Overcrowding, no proper kennels, lots of noise, dogs with behavioral problems, close to timid pathetic little scraps. A virtual shanty town for both animals & the people who live with them & look after them. However i saw past all of that, as i was privileged to see some of them, on their walk, happy, playful,loving, showing normal characteristics.
    I saw the way they responded to human touch & words, most of them followed commands as they ran or trotted next to us. They have given humans a second chance! We should do the same for them.
    It is easier to turn away, & I have heard people say ' oh i cant bear to go down there & see their plight, its too upsetting.!!!
    So is any disaster area upsetting to those looking in. Like Haiti, the folks there suffered for too long without proper help & assistance from the rest of the world. It took an earthquake to alert most of us.
    Lets not just talk about 'Live Arico '- lets get stuck in & help Eugenio give those poor dogs a better life.
    Could you pick which of the dogs should face Euthansia - i certainly could not - unless they were too ill & suffering. Then i would hold them whilst the vet put them to sleep. ( as i have done with my own dogs) That I believe is humane.
    If a dog is turning on its own pack mates also i believe that would be another reason for a vet to humanely decide. I hope above hope that this land comes through very soon.
    Please please Eugenio don't take any more strays into your refuge before then.

  12. I agree with the last poster, Quote....

    " I hope above hope that this land comes through very soon. Please please Eugenio don't take any more strays into your refuge before then".

    Until Live Arico stop taking in more stray dogs the overcrowding is not going to improve and therefore the well being of the dogs is going to suffer.

  13. When you walk down a street and see a stray the heart strings get tugged and the natural instinct to help that dog takes over.

    But we are just human we can’t save every dog we see.

    The gut instinct will be to start a rehoming centre to save all the strays in your area, but this isn’t always the best option.

    Before you start your rehoming centre you need to discover why the problem exists and what other options are available to you first.

    Can any dogs be fostered by friends or other existing organisations? Can you invest in an existing organisation and help them expand rather than set up on your own? Is there already a TNR (trap neuter release), in your area to control the strays, remember some dogs are actually more used to the street life and will not do well in a home or confined space.

    Are dogs treated as pets in your country – often dogs are not seen as pets in the same way we do they will live outside, they will roam and they will have ‘jobs’ this doesn’t meant they aren’t happy. But it also means a rehoming centre here will be futile as you wont be able to rehome your dogs.

    If you do start your rehoming centre remember to be realistic - again you can’t save every dog. What is your budget, running and capital costs. Realistically how many dogs can you care for. Do you have enough staff to ensure cleaning of the kennels and adequate exercise for all the dogs – every day.

    The dogs’ welfare should be paramount – not your own feelings, you need to take a step away from the emotion and look at the situation with real eyes. Are your dogs happy? Are they living in ideal conditions, can you afford to feed, vaccinate and neuter them? You will need to make the decision to destroy some of your dogs however ‘cruel’ you may think it is.

    For more details on Humane Animal control please see below.

  14. In itself overcrowding leads to many problems in health and hygiene whatever species is concerned. Nature has its own way of taking care of an over burdened population but that of course, is what the animal shelters are trying to avoid.

    Sadly, hard as they try, the people at the animal shelters in Tenerife (and not only LA) are pushing water uphill until the governemnt gets off its backside and puts some effort into helping these refuges help the animals in their care.

  15. Surely the dogs already in the refuge should be priority, land is just a pipe dream, short of a lottery win or very large donation !! If Eugenio gets land he will just collect more and more dogs like he did in Arico, 450 then before he was closed down,more dogs kept in bad conditions !! I think all at LA should take a reality check . I think sterilisation and castration should be given more priority to reduce numbers of dogs bred. Ive also been told that many puppies are born in LA which is only making a bad situation worse.

  16. As a previous poster has said in an excellent contribution - you cannot save every dog. I believe one has a responsibility to match actions to one's resources - the Dogs Trust, whose ethos is quoted and affirmed by Live Arico, almost as a justification of their own stance, had an income of 51.4 million pounds in 2008 and 434 staff; they cared for 16,238 dogs rehoming 14,169 of them and in their Sanctuary they allow 25 "unhomeable" dogs live out their lives: in their current Valentine's Appeal they announce they have 1,600 dogs now in their shelters. With this impressive income and their 17 Shelters, it is easy to live by an ethos that never puts a healthy dog to sleep.

    Live Arico admit they are overcrowded but saying they will not put a single dog to sleep means they are not dealing with the problem and are in fact creating far more "unhomeable" dogs than the 25 in the Dogs Trust Sanctuary. How to deal with the current problem, if too few new homes are available (either in Tenerife or Germany) for the dogs not already traumatised by the current conditions - to me, and to many writing here, the only answer seems to be to reduce the numbers by euthanasia, as we know all other shelters on the island are filling up, if not already full, in these days of Crisis. I have quoted elsewhere an excellent comment on euthanasia by an American Shelter, who have done the maths on the number of abandoned dogs, versus shelter places and new homes available - it is worth quoting more extensively this time:

    Euthanasia is unquestionably the hardest part of our job. We wish, more than anything else, that we could in good conscience become a no-kill shelter.
    The math is unalterable: if we take in 6,758 stray or abandoned animals each year, and we’re able to find homes for only 1,484 of these animals, that means that 5,274 animals have nowhere to go. We believe that given the circumstances, a painless death is the best choice among a limited set of awful choices.

    Many no-kill (or limited admission) shelters sharply limit the number and type of animals they will take. If they’re near capacity, they’ll refuse to take in additional animals, forcing the owners to find another place for the animal. Many no-kill shelters will never accept animals that will be difficult to adopt, such as older or injured animals. Owners often report to us that they’ve brought us animals only after being refused by one or more no-kill shelters. Other no-kill shelters may house animals for years in small cages, often causing animals to go literally insane. We do not believe this is a preferable, or even realistic, alternative to euthanasia.

    There’s nothing wrong with no-kill shelters or rescues, as long as they’re honest about their limitations — especially the limited number of animals they’re able to help. However, until we end the pet overpopulation problem in our community, a full-service shelter that performs euthanasia is a tragic necessity. We understand why people get angry over euthanasia; the situation makes us furious, and it saddens us that we must euthanize so many wonderful animals each year. We believe that this frustration is properly directed at the source of the problem: pet owners who abandon their animals or who do not sterilize their animals. (Animal Protection Society of Durham, NC)

    Note that, in the main, shelters who do not destroy dogs also practice a limit on the numbers they take in which Live Arico do not do. I do acknowledge that the Live Arico vision is not to put dogs in "cages", and that is a whole other conundrum: kennels versus packs.

  17. ( This post is a continuation from the previous post )

    There has been an on going debate with Live Arico, both in private and online, where their current severely overcrowded situation has been criticised and changes have been suggested. I believe people would be less critical and more supportive of Live Arico if it were obvious that some changes were being made NOW rather than being told it will all be okay when there is New Land. If not enough Volunteers are coming forward to help (or are not staying on once they have expressed criticism and been unheard) and management structures are not in place now, why will a change of location solve everything ?

    I ask Live Arico to tell us, what in the last few months has actually changed, apart from a sign-in sheet that might in fact mean some Volunteers are turned away:

    - has the food supply been moved to rat resistant shelters/holders (cleaned oil barrels with lids have been suggested)

    - are records being kept of each dog's requirements and has a system for individual feeding been introduced.

    - do they have enough individual feeding bowls and are they hygenically cleaned after each use and are water bowls frequently changed

    - has a systematic cleaning policy for the Stables been introduced and followed up on, along with maintenance of the drains so they do not block

    - is each dog of the 230 (or more) guaranteed a daily walk

    - has an attempt been made to separate out dangerous dogs

    - what attempts have been made to separate unneutered dogs (60% of the LA population) - especially bitches when in heat

    - as there appears to be insufficient funds, how will they decide which dogs to treat against worms & fleas each month

    And if the answer to any of the above, is No, we do not have the Volunteers or Resources available to make such changes, then do they still believe it morally justifiable to take in yet more dogs (even going to other pounds to rescue dogs that would otherwise have been legally destroyed under Canarian Law on Animal Welfare)

  18. Great idea, lets kill the dogs from Live Arico. How many 100, 150. well..... how many they have? about 230 dogs? Lets kill them all and shut Live Arico and the problem is resolved. Now the question is "who is going to kill all the dogs and how???" Let me think...... I offer **** as a candidate to go to Live Arico and kill all the dogs. Then we can go and kill some dogs from K9 or maybe all of them and Phil fron Dingo dogs he still has got some doggies.... Oh, there is lots to do on this island. Then what about people, there are lots of people who suffer in this world, we should help them as well maybe?

  19. Hi Larisa,

    You make a genuine point by saying what would happen to the dogs if LA were closed down, but then spoil it by becoming personal.

    I have had to remove the name as I have said before. Please if you would like to comment do not make it personal. This discussion is about the well being of the dogs and not a place to make insults about individual people.

  20. Larissa,

    As I said above, you cannot save every dog, If you remove the emotions what have you got, lots of very unhappy, unsafe dogs. How would you feel if a dog that was kennel stressed got rehomed and killed a child (and it does happen). Dogs are creatures not humans. In nature it is survival of the fittest, animals die, often horribly. Euthansia offers this solution in a more relaistic way. I by all means do NOT advocate euthansia for all dogs but if a dog is unhappy in kenenls and scared of its own shadow, unable to be rehomed - ever - what life is that, is that dog healthy, really? Is it a life you would like your dog lead?

    Please everyone remove your emotions its not about you or your beliefs - its about the dogs welfare. THEY should come first and if a small euthansia project allows money to be freed to neuter and vaccinate teh remainder then a better welfare job has been done than one in which interbreeding and sickness prevails.

  21. As an idea, before we sentence the dogs to death, maybe we can try to help. For example:
    - we can take some doggies home to adopt or to foster untill new refuge is ready (if I´m not mistaken Live Arico are trying to get some land and build a new refuge.If there will be 50 of us and each takes one dog there will be 50 dogs less in Live Arico;
    - we can contact other refuges with better facilities, if there is any space and allocate some dogs in there as it happened with Dingo dogs.

  22. Hi Larisa,

    That seems like a good plan asking other refuges if there is space until Land is found. But unfortunately the rescue shelters I know of are all full at the present.
    Asking people if they could take on a dog to foster until the land is found is a good idea and something that should be pursued. But as a lot of other people have said maybe not taking on even more stray dogs would help.

  23. Surely more emphasis should be made on castration and sterilisation to reduce the numbers of stray and abandoned animals. If puppies are being born inside the refuge then its just making matters worse than it already is. Surely better management practices should be in place. The root of the problems need to be targeted.

  24. To the poster above...

    Good points being made. Some of the other rescue shelters in Tenerife send their dogs to the Vet to be castrated/sterilised when a new owner has been found. Seems to be a good policy, to absolutely ensure that at least no more puppies are produced from the rescue dog and not anymore strays will be left on the streets.

    Not sure if Live Arico do this..?

  25. Poor Hygiene (basically living on top of their own faeces), over-crowding, Mating and producing new life, Fights on a daily basis, around half the dogs go un-fed due to stronger dogs attacking them, dangerous dogs being kept alive for years on end - and for what, and a man who - while his heart MAY be in the right place, or may once have been, has NO idea how to look after these animals and, sadly, on occasion has turned to force to deal with them.

    It is a very sad state of affairs but I think that the real problem here is the man running this place.
    Stop taking in more dogs, look after the ones you have - and the ones who are dotted around the island with various people storing them for him.

    Castrate, Euthanise the ones who need it (and believe me there are many - it is heartbreaking!), and get a proper routine where ALL dogs can eat, the place is kept clean and the dogs are SEPARATED!!

    New land will only bring more trouble. More space - more dogs. And is Fasnia really an ideal location (having looked it up on the map it is only a stones throw from what is classed by many as "The North".

  26. I think people on the committee and certain volunteers care more about **** plight than the plight of the dogs, how can they stand by and see how those dogs are treated and live, then call themselves animal lovers. Come on committee members open your eyes and please please help those poor dogs !!!!!!!

  27. There is absolutely no reason to euthanize any dog.
    Rehome them all. Create a system that enables animals to be rehomed, not only within the island but nationwide and internationally.
    Please excuse my sincerity but Eugenio seems to me like an extreme case of animal lover who lost his way and has become a hoarder. Those animals need rescue and they need rescue now.
    Spain is a large country, over 30.000 people. Focus on rehoming both on the island and on the rest of Spain and Europe and Spay and Neuter on the island.
    And before anybody tells me I dont know the realities of Spain let me tell you I do. I am born in Barcelona.

    Viktor Larkhill
    Let's Adopt

    You can find more about us on Wikipedia..

  28. I've worked at the now demolished Punta Brava shelter in Puerto de la Cruz. I've visited Eugenio a couple of times and I don't think he is able to leave a dog on the streets.
    Dogs are still being used in hidden dogfights, pets get stolen from their gardens and found back later thrown in a barranco torn to pieces.
    Walheidel Rachinger's shelter in Icod got shut down and she wasn't even allowed to feed or water her dogs.
    Tenerife gets so much revenue from Tourism and prefers to turn a blind eye.

    Why isn't there a petition (or is there one), that puts the pressure on, f.i. all the tourist can be given a flyer when they are at their pub.

    And also, a lot of expats, all nationalities leave their pets behind when going back to their country, a teacher of Trinity's School in Los Realejos left her English Bulldog (10 years old) behind when she went back to the U.K. A shining example of the attitude of unfortunately too many, and the Canarian people say you can do it, so can we.

    Hi Nikki, just trying to help. Will write to you on FB.

    February 23, 2010 3:35 PM

  29. I would just like to point out that comments or opinions expressed on this blog by respective contributors and posters do not necessarily reflect the views of Tenerife dogs.

  30. In an ideal world, no dog would ever need to be euthanised - but ... El Refugio (Madrid) announced this week that there were 500,000 abandoned dogs in just 5 years in Spain, so we are far from the ideal.

    Sadly all the refuges on the island are full (overfull in fact) and adoptions are few - often because many of the refuges are in isolated places far from the public eye (blame the planning laws for that).

    We can reduce the numbers in the future by sterilisation - a major campaign is needed and money to fund it - in an ideal world we would have a system like Dallas, Texas where you need a permit to have an "intact" dog

    But we are here today in Tenerife ... overrun by abandoned dogs and very little money to care for them - sadly, love is not enough

  31. When people responsible for the welfare of animals resort to intimidation of people who challenge their practices, one wonders whether they are best suited for their responsibilities,and or what is their real motive for being involved?
    If we cannot treat each other with respect,how can appropriate standards for the animals be achieved?

  32. Please note that Tenerife dogs is not able to publish anonymous posts that accuse specific individuals.

    Points of views can be written in such a way as not to be personal.

  33. Firstly this situation is awful for the dogs, secondly Eugenio's intentions should be commended (there are many animal lovers who hate to see the suffering and abandonment yet do nothing) and lastly the passion that everyone here has should be focussed on helping these animals to resolve this issue.

    I would suggest the following plan of action:
    1. Try to find homes, whether this is foster or permanent homes for as many of the dogs throughout Europe. Even make use of the Swallow community who are on the island for 6 months at a time-my parents love dogs but as they travel feel they can't have their own, but could provide a good home to one for 6 months at a time.
    2. Set up a foundation and commence fundraising activities.
    3. Contact local builders, who are quiet and ask them to devote their time to rebuilding the existing land to make the amenitites a safer and more confortable place for the dogs. Whilst new land may be an answer, in the meantime you need to work with what you have, and if all the other dog homes are full this resource won't go to waste.
    4. Contact local building supply companies and ask for their help through donations of material.
    5. Create a project team to recruit volunteers to do what they can - whether it's building work, feeding the dogs, fundraising etc...
    6. Contact airlines to ask if they can raise the profile with their passengers, collect funds or even help fly the dogs to new homes around Europe. You would require to be a registered charity for them to collect funds.
    7. Raise the profile of the plight of these dogs through fundraising everywhere.
    8. Contact other animal welfare organisations such as the RSPCA and SSPCA to see what assistance/advice they can offer.

    Whilst all this will take lots of effort and passion, and funds I am sure you are all capable of devoting the time to ensure the environment these dogs is improved. All it needs is planning, organisation and the passion to move it forward.

    If I can help in anyway (from the UK) I will.

  34. To Alison - above

    Unfortunately most of what you suggested has been done - or has been claimed to have been done.


    Its very sad, I think the emphasis needs to be removed from the "main man" and put back on the dogs as, ultimately, it is not him we are trying to please, it is the poor animals who need us.

    Perhaps those committee members and volunteers who are chosing to turn a blind eye to the suffering should face it head on and do something constructive to help things as opposed to plodding on,*******************************************************

  35. I am now closing the comments section for this post, thanks to everybody for their contributions..

    Some good points have been raised.