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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

International Animal Rescue gives help with dogs and cats in Spain

Cat receiving flea treatmentIn May a small team of volunteers from the UK visited Tossa de Mar, in northern Spain and worked at a dog and cat shelter.

The shelter currently houses about 100 dogs - although on previous visits the figure has been closer to 20. It also provides for more than 100 cats - many are feral and one of the pens has a group of cats with FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus.)

The animals living at the shelter are well-fed and watered but do have problems with tick infestation and fleas. This is a serious concern as they can die from tick fever. The team of Leslie, Neil and Sara spent two and a half days worming, de-ticking and de-fleaing the dogs and cats -treating all of the dogs apart from a couple. They treated 50 of the cats and would have done more but sadly they couldn't because of the high number of feral cats.

Neil attending to injured goatThe goat that also lives at the shelter benefited from the trip as well. Between three of them they managed to trim his feet which were very overgrown - they were really happy to achieve this.

Isobel who runs the shelter collects food for the animals from hotels, restaurants and cafes around town. Like most sanctuaries in the UK the shelter at Tossa de Mar is totally dependent on donations from the public and the local community. It appears animal welfare in Spain is not as well supported as it is in the UK, judging by the large numbers of strays and unneutered dogs and cats.

The volunteers kindly paid for their own flights and accomodation and International Animal Rescue sponsored them for all the flea treatments and wormers.They were absolutely delighted with this, saying it wouldn't have been possible without IAR's support.

Feeding time at the shelterThe dogs at the shelter are in small groups in various pens – a few are on their own. Sadly, the dogs aren't walked at the shelter so they only have their pens to pace around in. It is so important for animals to be physically comfortable when they lead such basic lives. Anyone who owns a dog will know how important regular exercise is for their physical and mental well-being.

The government run 'pound' is located next to the shelter: Isobel takes in dogs from the pound whenever she has room as they are destroyed after ten days unless they are claimed or rehomed. Some of the dogs are rehomed in Germany and the volunteer group have found homes for quite a few in the UK but it is sad for them to see the same hopeful faces that they saw during their first visit four years ago.

The team intends to return in July or August at the height of the tick season so the dogs and cats are better protected.