Update 17 November: Live Arico’s Sue Havenhand says that she was there when the police visited the refuge on Sunday, and that “it was a polite conversation, after which the police went on their way. No denunicia has been received. Apparently 2 small dogs attacked and killed an ostrich. The farm / restaurant was open at the time, why could someone not have caught them? There are many feral and abandoned animals in the area, I have seen them with my own eyes. Whether they are dumped because there is a refuge nearby, or are attracted by the scent of the other dogs, or whether it is a common problem ‘in the hills’ I really dont know. Eugene himself posted on facebook that one of the neighbours calls him on an almost daily basis regarding stray dogs. Juan chose to assume they were LA dogs and told La Opinion as such, who did not bother to corroborate this.”
Sue says that LA is writing to La Opinion to complain about its naming of the refuge in the latest attack, and that LA’s Canarian supporters are lobbying Granadilla Ayuntamiento to approve the licence application. LA has €500 donated by a wellwisher to secure the perimeter so that the refuge cannot be put in this position again. LA urges the ostrich farm owner to do the same, as his fencing clearly cannot keep dogs, be they from the refuge or strays, away from his livestock. She says that Eugene and Juan went face to face on TV last night, and that Juan conceded that it was not Eugene’s fault personally, but the fault of the authorities for not tackling the problem of abandoned dogs efficiently.
In my own opinion, this is a problem which far exceeds this one refuge, regardless of the detail of responsibility in this or previous attacks. The authorities are relying on privately- or charitably-funded refuges to solve a problem which should be their direct concern, but in turn, the refuges’ very existence enables the authorities to do nothing because the problem is solved for them. At least, it has been solved for them in the past, but with the economic crisis seeing more and more dogs turfed out to fend for themselves, it is a problem that now needs concerted public action rather than relying on private charitable enterprises. Superficially, one answer would be for the refuges to cease to exist, thus forcing the authorities’ hands, but this is hardly viable in practical, let alone humanitarian terms. What the answer is, god knows.
Update 16 November: A pair of dogs from Live Arico have killed yet another couple of ostrich chicks, according to La Opinon’s report HERE. The owner of the ostrich farm says that Live Arico is “totalmente ilegal”, and Granadilla’s Court 4 is indeed reviewing three denuncias against the dog refuge in order to be able to judge the case brought by the ostrich farmer, who says that this year he has now lost eight ostriches to the dogs, and that’s without counting one with a broken wing, and commercial losses that are not easy to quantify.
Juan Vincens, the ostrich farmer, says that he is going to claim the damages from the owner of Live Arico, and if he should declare himself bankrupt, he would submit a demand for compensation to Granadilla Ayuntamiento instead.
Updated from original post 21 October: Arguments are raging over the death of four young birds from an ostrich farm in Granadilla, with the owner blaming dogs from a neighbouring refuge for the killings. Juan Vincens says that he has complained repeatedly to the authorities about what he says are packs of marauding dogs which frequently come onto his farm from Live Arico, which houses some 350 or so dogs. The current attacks on the ostriches are being investigated by police and the Department of Agriculture, with the police having captured at least one of the dogs thought to be responsible.
It seems, however, that whilst some of the allegations are accepted, things are not quite so black and white. Live Arico argues, for example, that their own fence would have been strong enough to keep in what it says was only one of the refuge’s dogs if an earlier repair had not been stopped by a denuncia issued by the ostrich farm itself. Also, whilst it appeared that the sanctuary was initially trying to stage a cover-up by claiming the killing of only one bird, it transpires that a photo in the La Opinion report HERE which clearly shows four dead ostriches might have been released to the press before the dog’s owner had even been informed of the attack and could get clear information. In any case, Live Arico now seems to agree that four birds have died. The photo is not pleasant, so please don’t click on the link unprepared.
The photo at the top of the post is of one of the two dogs said to be responsible for the attack, and shows it arriving with Protección Civil at a different refuge (I think Aktiontier). This refuge has brought in Steph of Waggytails (to whom thanks for permission to use the photo) to advise how to create a safe environment for staff until the dog is either destroyed or returned to Live Arico. The other dog seems to be unconnected with Live Arico, whose Sue Havenhand said “LA bitterly regrets the situation and will take steps to ensure it is not repeated”.