Volunteers now working in the municipal animal rescue centre

Photos: Adeje Ayuntamiento.

Updated 25 February 2019: Adeje Ayuntamiento has announced that the first volunteer carers began their activities in the municipal animal rescue centre last Friday, 22 February, with 7 individuals who have met all the requirements needed to be allowed care for these animals. From now on this team of people, which can include up to 3 more, can take responsibility for walking dogs, brushing and shampooing them, playing and training in socialisation, as well as helping during puppy feeds.

The activities that the volunteer team will be involved in will never include the work of the centre’s full time staff, such as preparing the food for the animals, cleaning the installations, administering medicines, etc. Those animals listed as potentially dangerous will always be handled by personnel from the council who are in possession of the correct licences to do so. Health councillor Amada Trujillo Bencomo, said, “this is a great move for the borough, to have the team of volunteers now active in the centre. This is an important moment for us who have spent time preparing the regulations to allow these volunteers to participate and to ensure the Centre is properly run. We have been delighted to engage with volunteers who want to help and contribute to the development of these pets in the centre, a terrific reflection of the kind of people we have, who are ready and willing to take these volunteer duties on”.

Among the requirements for the seven people who have begun their volunteer work, as well as confirming they are over 18, are a medical certificate stating they are not ill, and a judicial declaration stating that they have never been reported or convicted of animal abuse or arrested for mistreating a domestic pet. In parallel they have to officially demonstrate that they are a member of a legally constituted non-profit volunteer organisation which is properly constituted.

The seven individuals have also had to undergo a period of obligatory practical sessions over a month, after which they were presented with an accreditation by the council. Any volunteer can be active for up to a year whereupon they need to reapply, and in this way the centre can ensure that more people who wish to volunteer have the opportunity to do so. Those who do qualify must commit to at least 50% of the established hours they are signed up for on a monthly basis, carry out the allocated activity in the hours assigned for it and follow the instructions of the responsible personnel in the Centre.

The rules also state that the volunteer may not carry out administrative functions nor access the veterinary area nor play with animals who are waiting to be collected by their new owners, change the cages of the animals, give the animals food or drink, clean the quarters and/or toys of the animals, etc. These functions are solely the responsibility of the staff members of the Centre.

The rules under which the Centre’s volunteers will operate have been laid out in law ‘4/1998, 15 de mayo de Voluntariado de Canarias’ and were approved in plenary session by the council.  To apply there must be volunteer vacancy free and the panel will give priority to those who have not previously worked as a volunteer in the Centre, the objective being to allow more people to participate. The full regulations are available to consult online, www.adeje.es.

Updated 16 March 2018: Adeje Ayuntamiento says that Natividad Arnaiz Martínez, a deputy from the Canarian regional parliament, visited the rescue centre during the week to find out how it is run and the regulations governing it. She was accompanied during the visit by Amada Trujillo Bencomo, local health councillor, the staff of the centre, the attendant vet and a representative of the animal protection association who works with the centre to facilitate adoptions.

Arnaiz Martínez had formally requested the visit and it was explained that this is the only public centre of its kind in Tenerife, meeting all the legal requirements for the care of animals, and the installation boasts a fully equipped veterinary consultancy room exclusively for the care of the animals in the centre, with a qualified vet in regular attendance.

Councillor Trujillo Bencomo said “the excellent reports we are getting from those who visit the centre as well as the high level of adoptions, which have risen by 50%, speak for themselves.  We have, on average, 12 dogs staying in the centre at any given time, with that low number owning much to the work of the animal protection association, Dogs Welfare Trust who work directly with us in the centre.”

Anyone who wishes to adopt from the centre will be taking home a healthy dog that has been vaccinated, micro-chipped, neutered, fully checked and with a European animal passport, all provided free of charge.  The Dogs Welfare trust will also underwrite the cost of the appropriate licence for dogs that fall into the ‘dangerous breeds’ category.

The deputy was interested in the procedures when an animal has been found wandering alone, how it is identified, whether, if chipped, the owners are contacted, etc. She also asked questions about the centre’s care and sanitation policy, how the dogs were treated for parasites, prepared for adoption, as well as public campaigns, etc.

The visit also served to highlight the fact that soon volunteers will be able to sign up to help in the centre with various activities with the animals.  The public hours of the centre for those interested in adopting a dog are from Monday to Friday, 9am -1pm, and no prior appointment is necessary, though if you would prefer to do so you can call 922 756 201 , particularly if you want to find out what exactly is the process for adoption.

Updated 6 February 2018: As expected since June last year, Adeje is now about to allow volunteer helpers at the municipal animal rescue centre. The council says that it has given initial approval to the regulations which will apply to the centre, with Health councillor Amada Trujillo Bencomo explaining that the document fulfills the promise of facilitating volunteers who have been clamouring to help in the care of animals in the pound. After this initial approval, the document will now be published in the Boletín Oficial de Canarias and thereafter be open to contributions and statements from interested parties. Once this administrative stage is completed, the regulation will be approved by the council … and at last volunteer helpers will be admitted to the care of strays and abandoned animals.

Original post 16 June 2017: There is good news for those hoping to help at the Adeje municipal animal rescue centre as the council has organized a vote on regulations allowing volunteers to go in and help. Members of the council’s ruling Socialist group met yesterday afternoon with councillors from other parties and Inma Évora, a well-known animal rights activist, to discuss “making good the promise to allow volunteers to carry out some duties in the centre with a series of agreed norms for their benefit and that of the animals in the centre”.

The council says that the agreement is based on a 1998 Canarian law on volunteering whereby those wishing to enter the centre to volunteer must be over 18 and registered with a legally constituted volunteer organisation. There will be ten places open to volunteers and people will be allocated their place for a set period of time to allow others to have a chance to help as well. Each successful volunteer will also be asked to undertake a month-long period of training in agreed duties and obligations after which they will be given full accreditation. After a year as a volunteer they must reapply and places will be granted on the basis of availability, priority given to those applying for the first time.

Among the duties will be walking the animals, brushing and showering, play time and training geared towards their socialisation, always under the supervision of the centre’s administrator. Other duties would include feeding and care for puppies.  The volunteers may also assist in the adoption of animals within the established norms of the centre.

The centre was built in 2010 and as always in these cases rumours abound, not least concerning alleged euthanasia. The council is emphatic, however, that no dog has ever been put down in the pound. Indeed, the council says it has “a vet who works with us to mind the animals from the moment they enter the centre. They are given a check-up, and any medication they may require.   We also have a team from the council who work at the centre, maintaining hygienic standards, and feeding and caring for the animals as well as carrying out any administrative work needed. The council also has a covenant with an animal protection association who helps in the adoption process with families who will offer the animal a home and love. Our commitment to zero levels of euthanasia is solid”.

It seems that both animals who need a home and those who love helping them will both benefit from Adeje’s initiative, which will hopefully be in place in the near future.

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