ALMOST 8,000 people have signed a petition demanding Torremolinos Council convert the municipal dog kennels into an animal sanctuary.
Charity Animal Resistance has taken to campaign website, Change.org, stating dogs and cats are “totally abandoned” and “volunteers are not allowed in” to the municipal kennel, which is said to concentrate on removing animals from the streets rather than rehoming them.
The campaign comes in the wake of the Parque Animal court case, in which the charity’s former president, Carmen Marin, was sentenced to four years in prison for animal abuse and document forgery and currently faces a further trial for money laundering.
Earlier this month it was announced a Torremolinos court has granted the town council’s request to take part in her new trial, in which she is accused of using charity funds to pay for a luxury lifestyle.
Parque Animal was run from 1998 to 2010 by the accused, until she was jailed after Guardia Civil officers found the bodies of dozens of animals in rubbish bins and freezers. At her trial, the judge found Marin had made a “lucrative” business out of the charity, which benefitted from zero tax, and carried out “culling session” on a “massive and unjustified” scale. Marin currently faces further charges of using the charity’s money to fund luxury travel, restaurant trips and cars.
At her latest trial, the judge said he believes Parque Animal paid out €104,382 to department stores, using the funds to reform and decorate her daughter’s beauty centre. Marin is also accused of using public funds to pay for a lift in one of her buildings, supermarket purchases and car rental, after receiving tens of thousands of Euros from the council.
The Animal Park account, registered as a non-profit association, also served, according to the order, for Marín and his family to pay twenty practical classes in a driving school, fees in a gym, trips and meals in restaurants.
Last month the RTN reported the troubled charity’s future was unclear after a recent tender to find new managers for the sanctuary failed to attract any offers.
The council will now reopen the application process, with the building’s current managers, Animal Home, continuing to take in animals in the meantime.
Torremolinos’ Environment Department had offered up to €67,000 to the successful applicant for taking over the shelter. Three companies were invited to take part in the tender, which would see the successful firm collect, transport and shelter the town’s lost and abandoned animals, but not one chose to submit an application. The Council is now said to be considering upping its offer to attract more companies.
Animal Home have managed the site since the investigation concluded in 2012, although the property continues to be owned by Parque Animal after it was given a 50-year lease in 1998. The fate of the site is now unclear, although a source at the council has reportedly said it is “not unusual” for these types of tenders to receive no applications.