Dog Rescue in Tenerife

Tenerife is great for tourists. All that sun, sand, sea and sangria – what’s not to like? And as a place to live, the island offers a friendly, relaxed pace in a pleasant climate. No wonder so many expats flock here to retire or looking for a new life in the sun.

Unfortunately, the island is not always so kind to its four-legged residents. Hunting season here is notoriously hard on the podenco hunting dogs and the treatment of older dogs by some hunters after the season is over is heartless – in cases, even sadistic. Then there are those who may not mean to be cruel, like the short term ‘swallows’ who come and go. Some of them casually leave behind the pets they picked up at the beginning of their stay like old socks that won’t fit in the suitcase.

Maybe they think it does not get so cold here so hey… the pet will survive just fine. Except of course it won’t. An abandoned dog left to its own devices could starve to death, die of thirst, get run over by a car, get sick – or get pregnant and add to the already overwhelming problem.

Then there are the feral cat families which can manage reasonably well as long as there is enough food to sustain them and they have access to water. In some areas, kindly individual Tenerife residents feed the feral cats and sometimes participate in trap, neuter, release programmes. There are also larger groups and registered charities that focus on rescuing, neutering and homing cats and kittens. But no amount of spaying and rehoming ever seems to put as much as a dent in the flood of new kittens born every spring.

But being chucked out like last month’s newspaper is not the only thing Tenerife’s dogs have got to worry. At least twice a year a warning goes out amongst animal lovers here that someone has been laying out poison for the dogs. Sometimes it is nails in sausages, sometimes it is rat poison but this is a recurring event and it happens often enough to suspect there is more than one sick bastard on the island who gets his kicks by killing dogs.

Martin being cared for by vet, Yaiza
Last but definitely not least, there are the cruelties inflicted on individual dogs. A few years, Tenerife was sickened by the abuse inflicted on Martin, a dog who had been beaten, cut, buried alive and left to die. He was buried up to his neck in dirt, unable even to turn his eyes away from the sun.

In the picture of him above, the red you see is not a blanket.  That is open, raw flesh where his skin was abraded away.

Martin’s long road to recovery was documented in a Facebook page and although Martin, renamed Pinky left for Rainbow Bridge in September 2016, you can still see his story and that of vet Yaiza who brought him back from the brink.


The Animal Angels

Thanks to people like Yaiza and the many, many people on the island who work hard to rescue and rehome stray and abandoned animals, not every dog tale in Tenerife has a sad ending.  The charities fight to remove animals from abusive owners, run shelters and foster groups to take in and home as many of the unwanted as they possibly can and spend all their time, money and energy on doing whatever they can to encourage Tenerife’s pet owners to spay their dogs and cats.

Martin’s case brought the topic of animal abuse on the island front and centre. People were so horrified at the abuse he had suffered that he is still a symbol not only of the abuse that animals have suffered here on Tenerife but of the absolute outpouring of love and support from the majority of good, kind-hearted souls who live here.

Tenerife Animal Shelters

There are quite a few animal shelters in Tenerife and all need support. Not everyone can donate money but dog and cat shelters need other things too. Bleach, food, blankets, newspapers…or some of your time… as Live Arico say on their Facebook page:

We also always need volunteers, your unwanted items for the shop, blankets, cleaning materials and food for the refuges. Please don’t throw anything away….you will be amazed at how resourceful we can be 😉

There are usually one or two of the shelters represented at local car boot shows and markets so donated old books, clothes and household items for them to sell is a good idea and there are also fund-raising shops and donations jars in different places around the island. Watch out too for fundraising events for the various groups that pop up throughout the year.

Live Arico PAWS

Live Arico PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Support) have a Facebook page and website. They also have charity shops which raise money to support  the protection and care of Tenerife’s dogs.

Tel: 652 29 78 53

K9 Tenerife

K9 is  run by volunteers.  It receives no government funding and relies totally on donations and fundraising. K9 are proud to be affiliated with the RSPCA in UK. They have a Facebook page and a website.

Tel: 667 638 468

Aktion Tier

Aktion Tier is a German animal support group with a branch in Tenerife supporting the islands distressed and abandoned dogs. They have a website and a Facebook page.

Tel: 664 321 219

Add an Animal Shelter

12 + 2 =