ADA - Associacio per a la Defensa dels Animals - stands for protecting all animals, no matter in what condition they are found and no matter what kind of animal.
It all started in 2013. On a property that originally belonged to a woman who bred German shepherd dogs. Since she had not received a building permit for this property, she left it to the animal welfare activists.
Temporary kennel facilities were gradually erected on this property, but the long-term plan was clear that they would also like to create a facility to shelter more dogs in proper kennels. This facility remained only a pipe dream, because again no building permit was granted, and so the animal welfare activists went in search of another possibility.
In Spain, it is still the sad truth and everyday life that there are perreras (killing centres) and it is the same here near Canals. After long negotiations, dealing with the authorities and sleepless nights, the animal welfare activists from the ADA Canals association were given the chance to take over one of these stations. This means they now have a facility where they can house their dogs.
With the takeover, new obligations have also arisen. The Perrera is the municipal animal shelter, all found animals and officially confiscated dogs have to find a place here. Taking in these dogs is now part of ADA Canals' mission. ADA must be available around the clock (24h throughout the year) to collect dogs from 28 municipalities when the police call them.. If they do not turn up they will have to pay a fine. In addition to collecting the dogs, they also have to write a report to the police station in charge and publish the found dogs so that the owners have a chance to retrieve the animals.
The old perrera is called Tosal and has 40 kennels divided into 2 rows of 20 kennels each and an outbuilding. The area that belongs to it is huge and will be fenced in the long term to provide even better exercise opportunities for the dogs. As of January 2022, the main area is fenced in and subdivided so that the dogs can go out in groups. The smaller and older dogs are housed in the adjacent building because it is warmer there during the cold seasons. Food, blankets and other valuable donations are also stored in the outbuilding. There is running water, but only cold and with so little pressure that only one person can clean the kennels at a time. The wastewater is collected in tanks that have to be emptied again and again. Electricity can only be generated by a petrol generator, so the kennels are unheated and only baskets with blankets and makeshift tarpaulins can keep the dogs a little warm in winter.
The purchase price was too high for the small association, which is why they pay a monthly sum like a rent to acquire the area in the long term with this down payment.
Besides the Tosal, there is also the so-called Retend in Canals, which belongs to the police. There are six small kennels there that also house dogs. The retend is surrounded by high walls and is located in a small industrial area. Because the kennels are so small, a member of the association comes here several times a day to let the dogs out in small groups, one after the other, for hours at a time.
Besides these two places, they also bring dogs to a small lovingly run boarding house run by a British woman called Lindsey. And they are lucky to have some great foster homes that keep taking dogs in when everything is overflowing again. For dogs with problems that need to be worked on, the association sometimes uses a special boarding kennel. Dogs are also brought here who are not at all able to cope well with the stress in the shelter. At this boarding kennel, we work with the dogs with professional dog trainers to prepare them for life in a family.
The animal welfare workers behind ADA Canals are Marga (chairperson of the association), her sister Mar (helps in the tosal and in the retend), Amparo (helps in the retend and has foster dogs), Monse (looks after a whole cat house and helps in the retend), Fanny (helps in the retend and does cat tests), Amparo (she helps her husband Basilio, who gets a small salary to clean the kennels every day), Rufi (picks up the dogs from the police and organises vet visits), Kirsty (also picks up dogs, drives to the vet and provides a foster home for many dogs), Juanjo, Miranda, Marck and all the great helpers who always walk the dogs on Sundays. Responsiblefor the cats are Nora and Paqui. It should be emphasised that everyone works on a voluntary basis.
ADA not only cares for dogs, but also many cats, so they also have several places where cats are housed. All this effort costs a lot of time, heart and soul and, of course, a lot of money. Because the dogs and cats want to have food and water, clean kennels that are cleaned by the staff (receive salary) and also veterinary care.
Therefore, everyone is happy about monthly sponsorships for a particular dog or donations for the association and, of course, about the adoption of a four-legged friend. Because then space becomes free in the shelter for new dogs.
Volunteers who want to help here on site are welcome. There is always plenty to do, whether it's cleaning the kennels, taking photos and videos and getting to know the dogs for their portraits on the website or helping with vet visits. It is physically and emotionally exhausting to support the animal welfare workers on the ground. But you also get to know very special people here. And so some friendships have already developed across national borders.
Photos: Annette Etges, Köln, 2021
Here are the bank details if you would like to donate directly*:
ADA– asociación defensa animal
Bank: Caixa popular
IBAN: ES44 3159 0033 3424 4583 0819
*If you want to claim your donation at the tax office, please transfer your donation with the name of the animal shelter in the subject to the Tierschutzverein Europa. We forward your donation 1:1.