17 Sep, 2014 @ 12:14
4 mins read

Dog fight waging between Mijas animal centre boss and former workers calling for its closure

Kims rescue centre

EXCLUSIVE: By Jacqueline Fanchini and Tom Powell

A WAR of words has broken out over one of the longest-running animal rescue centres on the coast.

A host of ex-employees, animal charities and a vet have denounced the ‘neglect’ and ‘filthy conditions’ suffered by animals at Kim’s Animal Rescue Centre, in Mijas.

The group insists that ‘numerous’ corners are being cut and pet passports are even missing necessary legal information.

In a series of statements handed to the Olive Press, the group claim the centre’s British expat owners Kim Halliwell and daughter Kelly are keeping dogs, cats and horses in ‘filthy, overcrowded conditions’.

A visit to the centre last week appears to back up these claims, while the Guardia Civil is currently involved in a case involving the mistreatment of horses.

Kim's rescue centre
Kim’s Animal Rescue Centre in Mijas

Kim however, insists it is all part of an anonymous ‘hate campaign’ that has been gathering pace for a year.

“I first heard about this campaign against me ten months ago, I don’t understand it,” she said.

“I work 17 hours a day cleaning cages and looking after animals, all because I love them. I have no clothes and I never go out.”

The Mancunian added: “I have saved more than 5,000 animals.”

Her ex-husband Stan, who donated her the land a decade ago, blamed the crisis for her problems.

The former builder, in his 70s, said: “She has just had a tough time with the recession and a lack of much needed help and money.”

However, more than ten previous employees and volunteers beg to differ.

Insisting they remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal, they claim something must be ‘urgently done’ to help the animals, currently said to number 80 dogs and 117 cats.

“We have all experienced great distress at the centre and are broken hearted for the animals unfortunate enough to end up in their hands,” said a former volunteer.

“We want to stop Kim from ever being allowed to deal with animals again, and for the truth to come out.”

Another former employee even insisted that the centre had incorrect pet passports.

“Animals were transported illegally due to improper passports and on one occasion several dogs were smuggled into the UK without being checked by the authorities,” said the former live-in volunteer, who resigned in 2011.

The claim appears to be backed up by Jacqui Ross, who runs another centre Last Chance Animal Rescue, in Malaga, who recently took two Spanish Greyhounds from Kim’s.

“I can’t find the vet who signed off on their passports, I’m going to have to order new passports as the information is all incorrect,” she said.

Another rescue centre, CYD Santa Maria, has also denounced Kim to the Guardia Civil and the Ministry of Agriculture over the ‘mistreatment, neglect and starvation of horses’, after rehoming two of them.

A dog's ear ridden with ticks
A dog’s ear ridden with ticks

While CYD president Concordia Marquez confirmed the case was going ahead, she insisted she was unable to discuss it for legal reasons.

Other workers insisted there was a serious lack of medication, and Kim’s ‘bedroom’ and bathroom often housed dozens of cats and puppies.

Claims included ‘small, filthy cages’, ‘tick-ridden animals’, a lack of ‘fresh air and sunlight’ and a lack of proper vaccinations.

A vet, who worked with Halliwell for a number of years, up to 2013, said: “It is clear there were far more animals there than she had the capacity for.

Kim currently has 80 dogs and 117 cats at her centre
Kim currently has 80 dogs and 117 cats at her centre

“Things have got out of hand there. There is room for 25 but she has around 200.

“She did all that she could for the animals, but simply didn’t have the funds for proper hygiene.

“We stopped working together because she couldn’t afford her last bill to me.”

An anonymous hate campaign

KIM Halliwell claims that many of the attacks are from people who were sacked for not doing their jobs properly and she firmly denies the allegation of falsified passports.

“If it was dirty it was ultimately their fault,” she said. “No animals have ever died from neglect or a lack of medication.”

Meanwhile Laura Ellen, a helper at the centre, told the Olive Press: “She works ridiculously hard but she can’t manage alone.

“She desperately needs to raise more money but with this hate campaign against her that is so difficult.”

“We want to appeal for help for these animals, not spread anguish and hide behind anonymity,” added Ellen, who has lived in Spain for 11 years.

A spokesperson for Adana animal shelter in Estepona, added: “We have never heard anything bad about Kim’s, all of the centres on the coast are doing a very difficult job in very difficult circumstances.”


‘It made me want to retch’

Jacqueline Fanchini pays a visit to Kim’s Animal Rescue Centre

ON the day of my visit the centre resembled a junkyard more than a proper shelter.

Kim’s daughter Kelly immediately started making excuses for the obvious filth, blaming it on the ‘lateness’ of a cleaning lady and her mother being on a dog-rehoming trip to the UK.

There was faecal matter everywhere, even streaked on the walls, cat litters were overflowing with dung, puppies were slipping on it, and it reeked of urine. It made me want to retch.

Kelly was talkative, knew the animals’ names and they seemed to have food and water available to them. There were certainly bags of food strewn here and there around the shelter.

Former volunteers have criticised the "severe" over-crowding of animals
Former volunteers have criticised the “severe” over-crowding of animals

I wasn’t shown the bottom shelters, stables, nor the properties at the side of the centre, which are allegedly where poorly animals are kept from prying eyes.

Either way, I would say a lot of work needs to be done here.


See Olive Press opinion: Animal rescue crisis


For more information on the rescue centre, volunteering, donating and rehoming animals, visit www.kimsanimalrescue.com

Tom Powell

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: [email protected] or call 951 273 575. To contact the newsdesk out of regular office hours please call +34 665 798 618.


  1. I have never been to Kim’s Animal rescue, but my daughter and a friend go there periodically to help out and to take food and water for the animals. Kim works 17 hours a day every day in blistering heat with little help. People dump their animals at her gate, especially ex-pats leaving Spain and returning to their homes. What is she to do? She can’t turn them away. That is why the rescue is overcrowded. She does her best for the animals on very little money. What she needs is a sponsor. What will happen to the animals if her rescue is closed down? Will they be taken away and euthanised? Clearly she needs help, so instead of denouncing her, perhaps you could come up with a solution that is helpful and permanent.

  2. I have been up to Kim’s Animal Rescue myself. I have experienced how crowded the conditions are, which isn’t the only issue. The animals may be given their basic needs, however, their hygiene is awful. I’ve been told on numerous occasions that Kim is away placing dogs… but is she? Money is raised yet there is no improvement. I’m one of the biggest animal lovers there is, and cannot bare even an ant being stepped on… we seriously need to help improve the state of these kennels!

  3. I urge anyone who wishes to comment or slate Kim to get their butts up and HELP her clean the kennals, then see for yourself after living a few days in her life how back breaking it is! i have two big dogs, and the cleaning up after them, picking up their poo, hosing down and bleaching is sometimes 3 times a day! and thats 2 dogs!!
    imagine then one person, trying to keep 70 dogs’ kennels, 117 cats contantly hygienic!, plus feeding them, making sure they have constant water, taking them to the vets when needed, liasing with a group in Finland to transport them. And also trying (when she has internet) to update dog profiles for rehoming. So Lucia Baker, who do you think drives them to the UK?. Her daughter who nearly suffered a breakdown due to heat exposure and stress, holds the fort on her own when her mam has gone. Where do you think she goes then? shopping or to the beauty salon?? she doesnt even have her own clothes, shes up there day in day out in the same shorts and bikini. And do you know how I know this? because we GO up there regulary! we dont just sit behind the comfort of our laptops saying ‘oh poor her, someone should help her’. And I hold down a busy job too. Just for everyone to know were going to hold a fundraising event for Kim, whereby I will be giving my singing services for free, and so will other singer friends of mine, so lets hope the Olive Press will plug it!!

  4. I’ve been up there multiple times offering my services. I’ve brought liters of water when they’ve had water shortages. Yes. I know she’s up there in her bikini and shorts. However, the way she drags the dogs out of the poor cages is unbelievable, and yes, the dogs are locked in a dark room in cages no bigger than 1mX1m… It’s not good enough. So that’s why we all need to pitch in. They’re careless with them. It’s disgusting up there. It needs sorting. Where is the event Laura Griffiths?

  5. One person???? Hows that working then if Kim isn’t even there??? Plus didn’t Kelly, who was working there when the reporter asked her about the filth, didn’t she say the cleaning woman hadn’t arrived yet?! Leading them to believe that 1. A third person (at least) works there and 2.That usually the place doesn’t usually look like that.
    There are also volunteers that go there from a Spanish group called Alvora as well as yourself Laura. So with these people and kim “Supposedly” working 17 hours you would think the place would be cleaner, and the animals would not be filthy and tick infested… The trips to the uk could easily be covered by the many other groups who do animal transport legally using the TRACES scheme and not the Pet Transport Scheme as obviously they are not pets. Why would you leave a young girl to look after all the animals if another transport could do it? Why?? She says she makes no profit from transport, so why would she do that herself. Hopefully when this Fund raiser has been done the money will be spent on food and water for the animals…

  6. I have a 5 page report on the conditions at Kims when i worked there for 7 weeks last year including the deaths or disappearances of 14 animal in that time! None so blind as those that will not see!!!!

  7. One day… yes one day… the whole truth will out… because support financially does not help, offers of homes for the dogs are turned down if the money is not enough, because there are dogs there in conditions that simply are unacceptable, and because those who should be on here saying what they know to be the truth through personal witness, need to stand up and add their voice.
    I gave my time for free, I collected food and donations, I had plumbers and builders and electricians there, and for what… nada… turned away.
    If taking dogs from a pound that offers a better standard of health hygiene and feeding capabilities is considered rescue, then I must be in the wrong frame of mind… if dogs were not selected for their sellability value from places, then maybe the shelter would have the room to house the ones dumped at the gate… what is the point of keeping dogs that you cannot afford to feed, medicate, or even provide water for… this is a bloody disaster, and these animals are suffering… and I stand by what I know.

  8. I rescued 2 dogs from Kim, both arrived underweight and had travelled for 7 days in a cramped transit van with 18 other dogs and a few cats. All animals were dipped with an illegal cattle dip the morning they set off too! This is no vindictive anonymous hate campaign but a campaign born of disgust at the conditions she is prepared to allow animals to live in. Ask what happened to her “favourite” dog Ringo? She has been offered help before and refused because too many questions were being asked. This place needs to be closed down immediately.

  9. I volunteered at Kim’s for one month last summer, while I was there most of the animals were not kept in satisfactory conditions. Many of them, especially the cats were in cramped rooms without natural light and some in small cages. Some of the staff there at the time were trying there best but they could only do so much, many of the animals required medical help.
    The first day I met Kim (she was away doing a transport trip to the UK) she told me that she had too many animals however later that morning we went to the government pound. When we were there she selected four dogs that she wanted reserved and said later that day she would do a fundraiser to get the 200 euro to take them out. I told her after about the puppies and kittens that were infested with worms and fleas and was told that there was no money for that. I was shocked that she wanted to take on more dogs when she couldn’t even provide basic care for the ones that she already had! While I was there I saw a number of puppies and kittens die, only one was seen by a vet thanks to a member of staff taking them there and paying themselves, Kim complained to them about taking the animal to the vets! There was other sick animals that I saw and not once was a vet even mentioned.
    I adopted a dog from her a few months later, when she arrived she was severely underweight, had fleas and was riddled with worms which took several months to get under control. I was also told by Kim when I met her to collect my dog that if the authorities were to call to say that I owned the dog and had adopted her already and under no circumstances say that I adopted the dog through her.
    I have volunteered in many rescues in various countries but I have never seem conditions as bad as they were at Kim’s, it lacks even the basics of running water and electricity.

  10. All the more reason to force her into accepting help. It’s the dogs and cats that matter. Yes there’s far too many up there. Our concern is the animals , not taking sides.

  11. I too have worked there – expected to work for 100 euros per week and a temporary roof over my head, but living in appalling and filthy conditions, no electricity and working from 7am to 2pm then 4pm till 8pm…

    Kim charges 200 euros to every person who finds a stray and takes it there….and then between 250-300 euros for those taking dogs from her and offering them a home- this is to cover the costs of vet treatment vaccinations and neutering she tells them – but World veterinary Services send their teams of volunteers to do all the neutering for free!!

    yes the dogs stay in worse conditions than the humans sadly ;( although Kim did help me in time of need and helped me out with rescue dogs as well, my concern is the welfare of the animals also.

    I was also appalled at the conditions and how many dogs were crammed in cages meant for one or two – there are sometimes 5 or 6 or more so excrement is everywhere!

    It is the volunteers and students who do the majority of cleaning & it is awful because so many dogs in one small space is not healthy for them or the people trying to take care of them…

    On reporting several dogs with diarrhea with traces of blood in, I was told samples were not being sent to vets – my concern was that disease could spread throughout the whole kennel blocks – possibly killing all the dogs – sadly my concerns were ignored!

    My dogs arrived in the UK very poorly with vomiting and diarrhea as well and took several weeks of treatment to get them healthy again.

    I understand like me she does want to help dogs but this really isn’t the best way – she has way too many and no matter how much money you raise their is never any improvements to kennels or new ones built!

    Money clearly isn’t the issue if she is collecting nearly 500 euros per dog that is handed in and re-homed!

    I appreciate some dogs are just abandoned at the gates but there are also many people who fund raise for SOS on the side…. the issue perhaps is that her heart is bigger than the facilities and the volunteer help she relies on …

    She simply doesn’t understand that the conditions are not healthy for either the animals or the workers and yes sadly some dogs have paid with their lives as sick animals don’t always get the urgent veterinary treatment needed.

  12. Our concern is the animals and only the animals. What kind of help do you think can be offered that hasn’t already been offered? Cash? last years donations added up to at least 50,000. I know this because I was the admin, and know what came in via donations. fundrazr, Paypal, private individuals raising cash from events, private individuals giving her cash donations, donations for water, food, vets fees, not to mention donations from charities including cash and phones and even a new computer. This is without money for adoptions and the transport trips to the uk, and France. So obviously cash isn’t the answer. Volunteers?? Yes as the lady explains, these are badly treated, and when they complain or start to question conditions or treatment, are sacked. Rehoming? There are groups helping her to rehome, and as fast as they go, she takes more in. I think this is a case of taking sides… I’m on the animals side, the vet says that there are too many, it is stated that there is ample room for 25 dogs, then why has it gotten to 100 dogs and 100 cats or numbers in that region. The authorities should step in, and help the animals be rehomed. As this seems to be the only way…

  13. Look the problem is the welfare of the animals!!! Clearly when people set up rescue when they do not actually know what they are doing and if their intentions are not always honourable…that is why they do not accept help from qualified dog trainers or behaviour people – conditions are awful but no matter how much you all help out the money is clearly NOT BEING SPENT ON THE ANIMALS OR VETERINARY care OR MEDICATIONS NEEDED! stop helping CLOSE IT DOWN AND GET SOMEONE IN TO RUN IT WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND WILL SPEND THE DONATIONS ON THE ANIMALSS!!!!!!

  14. Regretfully unless the rescue is a registered charity with a board of directors the funds given are likely to be spent on other things and the animals left to suffer .

    50,000 euros is a lot of money to be non accountable for in any business .
    The olive press needs to exercise control here or they could be doing more harm than good in the long term .

  15. This has really gone on for far too long and needs to be stopped. This is not a HATE campaign waged against Halliwell but if the poor dogs have ended up in this hell hole with no escape then it is up to us humans to speak and act for them !! The number of 80 dogs has been quoted as being up there, does that include the poor souls who are hidden away down by the river where no one knows they are being kept ? Tales of abuse, mistreatment etc has been circulating for many years now regarding this person and also her daughter who is even worse than her mother with no compassion at all. How can they say they work all these hours with cages full of faeces and urine. The dogs food is then thrown into them and its a free for all finding enough to eat amongst the soiled floor. 300 euros per dog is the fee she charges and regularly takes up to 20 crammed in. In my book that is 6,000 euros and usually twice a month it doesn’t take a lot to work out. She has even got people campaigning for money for her rescue centre in the Uk so what does that add up to ? She was being sponsored by a Swiss Charity who then backed off after they saw first hand the state of things.
    Can fully understand why ex employees have decided to remain anonymous. They have been threatened with all sorts from being beaten up to their house being set on fire !!!!
    All you do gooders of Kim may well want to sit on the fence or change your opinions once photographic evidence comes to light if it hasn’t already because photos don’t lie !!!

  16. So… Trying to do something to put an end to the distress, mental and emotional torture,suffering of those in need of medication but getting none, and frequently enduring hunger or thirst – all being endured by the animals ending up at the hell hole called Kim’s Animal Rescue…This being turned around to – and lowered to- us being haters – (mind blowing distortion of truth?!) and causing anguish… our concern was the anguish of the animals…to it all then being high-jacked by a well-meaning (but perhaps slightly publicity hungry) known figure in the area, and turned in to ‘Let’s save Kim’s Animal Rescue’…I hope that he and The Olive Press news paper now, after the publicity hype and posted photos claiming their intend of support to that place, – and that goes for every single person supporting the rescue – that they will keep on going there unannounced and frequently, at different times of the day, and that they will walk through to and around every single room, cage and kennel, especially the ones out of sight, and ensure the wellbeing of the animals. This is what the animals there need more than anything and this is where the strength and truth of the commitment you have now pledged will truly be tested, and it is done quietly and with a loving heart and no cameras around. I hold you to that! The well-being of the animals there is now the responsability of you – they have no-one else.

  17. This whole multiple threads about this one centre is a strange personal attack. It sounds like it really needs to be closed down, but we don’t want any vigilantes going round now do we.

  18. What a mess!

    The first priority is the poor animals but important is that there should be a committee to appoint an independent Treasurer. I have donated to Kim’s many times but the whole structure is open to fraud.

    Having a witch hunt and shouting close it down doesn’t help.

  19. This is no witch hunt, this is a group of animal lovers who’s primary objective is in the welfare of the animals. This is action being taken by people who were once involved in the care of the animals at KAR. If not directly involved in the hands on care,involed in the raising of funds to aid the rescue. This wasn’t an easy decision to come to, nor was it taken without first pleading with Kim to cut down numbers, to stop taking in more than could be fed, watered and cared for. It is ok to say I can’t say no but when it is not in the best interest of the animal you have to. When unable to provide this care to trawl perrera searching out the more appealing dogs, the more marketable dogs is completely unacceptable and lends more to a business that a rescue. When unable to provide care then a dog or cat stands a better chance in the municipal pounds. Well run rescues and charities have offered help but not while Kim is still there. So no! This is not a band of ignorant haters but a group of passionate animal lovers….

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