THIS has been a bizarre nine days for the Triple A animal charity which has seen them reach the heights of joy due to the support that they have received during their 25th Anniversary celebrations, and the depth of despair following a raid by Seprona, the nature division of the Guardia Civil.
To summarise, this collection of dedicated volunteers who look after abandoned animals in Marbella and San Pedro has saved the lives of thousands of dog and cats over the years, and where possible re-homes them in Spain as well as Finland and Germany.
They are very high profile, receive financial support from the council of Marbella and many local celebrities have helped raise significant funds for the charity over the past years.
It came as an enormous surprise to all of their supporters when reports appeared that on Monday April 11, their offices had been raided by a large number of officers from Seprona. Many of their files were removed and at least three people: their president, secretary and a veterinarian, had been arrested and taken away for questioning, although they were released later the same day.
No action was taken to close the pound and as far as we can see the council has taken no negative action, but of course rumours abounded, and there was a general call from the charity for people not to judge until the true facts emerged.
A few days later, on Sunday April 17, the planned 25th Anniversary open day took place with large crowds attending to show their support for the charity, and in many cases to consider adopting a cat or a dog.
All seemed to be going well until the office of the Seprona chose on that anniversary Sunday to issue a damning press release, accusing those connected with the charity of a raft of illegal actions, which seemed to condemn them in advance. Coupled with the press release was a fairly horrific video basically showing dead animals which were discovered in a refrigerated unit on site.
What wasn’t revealed in the press release, but was clarified on a radio broadcast hosted by Nicole King on Marbellaradiotelevision – at which this writer was one of the guests – spokesperson Lily Van Tongeren, who was noticeably upset by all of this, explained that the majority of dead animals had been sent to Triple A by the council. The arrangement was that Triple A stores all dead animals until such time as their freezer is full, and they can legally arrange for the bodies to be removed for destruction.
Of the many bodies shown in the video, only a very few cats and dogs had died at Triple A and indeed one of the dogs, Bingo, was a puppy with a diseased breastbone who had been raised by Lily personally. He had to be humanely destroyed by a vet, as the poor animal had found it increasingly impossible to breath.
She insisted that every single body shown was accounted for and properly recorded, and that the charity saves lives rather than causing death.
Andalucia TV has been investigating all of the allegations, and has even sent its own staff to Germany to review all of the expenses involved in sending dogs to that country. In two different studies, it has passed its own opinion that financially, no impropriety could have taken place, and it has risen past allegations against Seprona of animal cruelty.
When EWN contacted the Malaga office of the Guardia Civil requesting their version of the events of the past week, our reporter was told that as all of the papers had been submitted to the Courts for review, no comments could be made, and it appears that Triple A’s lawyers are, at the time of going to print, endeavouring to gain sight of the evidence presented.
The one piece of acceptable news to come out of this sad affair is that the 400 or so animals looked after by Triple A are still safe and cared for.