Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cruelty To Dogs have recently received some emails equiring about videos showing cruelty to, and abuse of dogs which has allegedly been happening in a refuge for stray dogs in Tenerife.

Perhaps because TenerifeDogs is a website that is very easily found on the internet, people from all over the world have been getting in touch for more information, and even asking if the website might be linked to these videos in some way. I just would like to say that is neither a refuge, nor an animal rights campaigning group, but a website that aims to help ALL the local refuges to find new homes for as many dogs as possible.

We have seen these videos and they do show some horrendous scenes of cruelty and dogs being kept in appallingly overcrowded conditions. Because of this, there have been some comments that suggest that it is typical of the way that Spanish people treat their dogs.

This is a dangerous generalisation, and a bit like saying that because there is evidence * of cruelty in some care homes in the UK, then British people must be child abusers  (* eg the recent video broadcast on BBC news of abuse in a children's home near Bristol). Unfortunately cruelty, abuse, and appallingly bad management can and do happen anywhere and everywhere in the world (or to put it another way; "sheet happens !").

I gather that the UK care home has now closed and will only re-open with a change of name and new staff. The people involved in the abuse are no longer there, and will probably be prosecuted, which is clearly the only way that the home could start afresh.

A solution has also recently been found for the Live Arico dog refuge, involving a change of management and re-location to a new site.

There have been problems at LA for quite a few years. In 2010 after a visit, we posted on this website (LINK) that the dogs were in a bit of a sad state. The reason we wrote about this was 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 LA 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 LA 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, these were the questions that we posed in 2010, and if you go to the link, you'll see that it started a very full and open debate.

Unfortunately the problems weren't solved, and in fact, as the videos allegedly show, only got worse. But at least this is now out in the open, and as mentioned, a solution has been found. The LA dogs are now being looked after by Fedcapap LINK at a new refuge in Fasnia. TenerifeDogs wishes them well, and hopes that this situation never happens again !

We will continue to do our bit to help find good homes for as many dogs as possible, and also to try and get people to be responsible dog owners.

.....I will not put any comments up that have bad language  or are not worded in a reasoned way....


  1. A very well rounded report on a dire situation, where the poor abandoned dogs in this refuge, were not cared for or protected in a way we would expect as animal lovers and protectors.
    Overcrowding, meant lack of resources, of food, medical care, tick & flea treatments, & any training,love & affection.

    The refuge did rehome many dogs over the years,with the help of campaigners who assisted in adoptions & fostering. 'the lucky ones'.

    Many volunteers & supporters, cared deeply about their plight & worked very, very hard to raise monies to care for these dogs, & give them a better quality of life. Unknown to them this maltreatment was going on behind the fences.
    There are a lot of lessons to be learnt from this dire situation.
    The past committee members of live arico, fought over many years, to change certain things at the refuge,but were overruled, or ignored, by the founder, who lived at the refuge with his family members 24 /7, and had total control.

    The refuge has been closed down by the authorities, & The dogs have now
    been moved onto a new life in fasnia, overseen by Fecapap, the government body who oversees refuges. They still need much support however, as the government funding stops with the buildings & land they have provided. ( crisis times all over the world means lack of money in every government)
    The dogs need food, vet care, beds, toys, & still more building materials to finish the enclosures i understand..
    R.I.P. the poor dogs who did loose the battle up there, my heart breaks for you. ( benji, dascha, & many others, your in my thoughts)


    One person must never have overall control of these poor creatures lives..

  2. Thanks Patricia, you make some very good points ( Patricia has allowed me to use her name by the way).

    I also wish this never happens again and as Patricia points out one person in complete control of so many dogs is fraught with danger .

    If anyone would like to contribute to the refuge at fasnia here is their account number and their facebook page

    ES80 2065 0107 6214 00
    05 0373


  3. For whats its worth, my opinions and thoughts are as follows.
    The videos. I have only seen what was posted on the internet last friday. I saw Eugenio pick up a black cocker (Micky) that was being attacked by a powerful pit cross (Pancho), put Micky safe, then hit Pancho. There are also other dogs in the mix, kicked clear by others in the video. Opinions seem divided. From people used to working with large numbers of dogs, I have had comments that this is the only way to deal with a dog attack. To others it looks terrible. I am in the latter group, I personally could not deal with that situation, it is certainly not for the faint hearted.
    All I can say is, although my work for Live Arico was outside of the refuge, when I have visited, I have never, ever witnessed cruelty in any way shape or form. If indeed it has taken place, and please note that at this point in time NO charges have been brought, then the purportrators will have to answer for their actions.
    I will agree that Live Arico spiralled out of control, and that is one of the reasons I resigned last week. It became like a ride I couldnt get off, and my focus of finding the money to feed the dogs over rode every thing else. It was never ending. I do take issue with the comparison with a UK care home though Nikki. One would assume that the management were earning 5, or even 6 figure salaries. It is a notable point that within Live Arico were a group of people working for a pittance, or, in my case, nothing at all. Hours and hours on end of working, fundraising, thinking, figuring ways to bring money in, membership schemes, nearly killing myself running a half marathon, and in the end it seems all for nothing. My best was not good enough, but I tried. Tried hard with limited time, and in the end the hours put into live Arico ate into time I should have devoted to my family, to normal family life, but it took over my life.
    I find it sad that the good work LA has done will probably now be forgotten. Many adoption, many happy endings. It has not been all bad. It was becoming harder and harder to care for the dogs properly, although over a €1000 per month on average went out in vet care. They were fed, watered, sheltered, but very little more, and that pains me.....
    Lastly, the vendetta against Live Arico and its committee is, in my opinion unforgivable. This also is a reason for my resignation. Fake Facebook pages, viscious words, personal hatred, its been awful, and just too much to bear. Then to see the fake Live Arico page admin actually admit to having been paid well to bring the situation about, well, you can imagine how that feels. Whoever took the videos, why hold onto something for a year, tormenting the ones who might have been able to act with them, is that for the dogs? To FILM a dog fight instead of helping break it up, is that for the dogs? Yes, Live Arico may well be over, rightly or wrongly, but the way this has been brought about will leave a bad taste in many mouths.
    I wish the existing committee of Live Arico well. With different faces the Association may be able to go forward. Certainly there is much to do. The Authorities in reality cannot afford to sustain the Fasnia dogs. I am told they did not eat last Sunday, yet they NEVER went without food in LA. If there was no money I would buy it myself. But, we will see. LA will leave a huge gap in my life that will be hard to fill. If I have let anyone down I apologise.
    It has been difficult.

  4. Thank you for your reply Sue. Both you and Patricia have made some important points, which makes for a balanced debate. Please keep the comments coming (as long as they contribute to a constructive debate).