Expat help needed for documentary on Andalusia abandoned dogs

Published:  23 May at 6 PM
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A British filmmaker needs help from expats in Andalusia for his documentary on abandoned dogs.

London resident Paul Murphy became aware first-hand about Spain’s abandoned dogs scandal when he drove from the UK to Los Barrios to collect his newly-adopted stray dog from a local shelter. Shock and horror was his reaction when he saw the huge numbers of abandoned pets, and provided the inspiration for his documentary, Dogland. The film follows the struggles of expat volunteers who’d taken over the shelter in which dogs were summarily killed if not claimed within 10 days of arrival.

The volunteer group worked day and night to transform the dog pound into a dog sanctuary, but disaster struck in December 2016 when violent rainstorms inundated the shelter. All the dogs had to be evacuated and were held in a bullring. Murphy is now searching for smartphone film footage of the floods and of the dogs being rescued, and plans to include any footage he can get in the documentary. The shelter is now supported by the British charity Spanish Stray Dogs, with the aim of finding loving new homes for all the strays in their care.

In a related story, new amendments to Spain’s animal protection laws may prevent dogs being abandoned at will by their owners. Physical cruelty as well as abandonment of pets will now result in fines of up to €30,000, with the new rules hopefully giving local authorities the teeth to win the battle against cruelty to animals. Every year, some 140,000 dogs are dumped on the streets by their owners, and the new laws also forbid shelters from killing dogs for non-medical reasons. In addition, owners can be fined up to €2,000 for failing to vaccinate their pets, not feeding them well and keeping them in filthy conditions. Not producing the correct paperwork for pets will also be subject to fines of €500.
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