The Olive Press appeal aims to:
- Re-home 50% of the animals
- Find at least 12 regular volunteers
- Improve the cleanliness and facilities at the centre
- Improve accounts
THE future is looking a little bit brighter for Kim’s Rescue Centre in Mijas, following the Olive Press’ exposure of the crisis that has engulfed it.
While complaints have continued to come in on Kim Halliwell’s 17-year-old centre, a groundswell of her own supporters has rallied around, promising to help clear up the mess.
Since our exclusive story last month, concerned animal-lovers have begun to enquire about volunteering while other rescue centres have agreed to take in some of her animals.
After our last edition, we visited the centre to meet Kim and her supporters, and discussed the best ways to improve the overcrowded condition, find homes for the animals and encourage more volunteers.
However even the staunch supporters who attended the meeting later informed the Olive Press they no longer felt able to support a planned fundraising effort scheduled for this month.
Kim herself admitted to us the centre is ‘out of control’.
Both she and her supporters all agree that the fundamental needs for the centre are to cut the number of animals by half and NOT donate money but time, services and food.
After offers flooded in from other rescue centres around the region Kim finally agreed to release an initial 15 of her dogs, and many cats.
In what has become an almost indecipherable mess, one thing remains as clear as ever.
This is not a case of taking sides and blindly supporting or opposing Kim and her life’s work. This is last chance saloon for her and the animals must come first.
Whether or not she is operating unethically, or even illegally, will be dealt with by the police now that the issue has been raised.
Last week, acting on a denuncia, the local police turned up at Kim’s to inspect the centre and check up on paperwork.
They ordered the removal of a truck and wooden structures from the grounds, as they are a fire hazard.
Skips have now been booked and the removal work is set to be carried out this week. Further plans to clear the whole place up are also underway.
But while it is easy to criticise, it is much more difficult to decide how to resolve the crisis for the animals’ sake. We are determined to make a positive change.
Last issue we revealed the war of words being waged between the defenders and detractors of the centre. Since then, the Olive Press has been inundated with online comments, letters and phone calls from both passionate supporters of the centre and its critics.
The story was also picked up by Swedish website ‘Spain today’, which sent reporters to Kim’s.
However the problem for Kim continues, with an increasing number of Spanish people unable to look after their pets.
Indeed, several days after our meeting, a Spanish lady arrived at the gate to dump a dog which she had just found by the roadside.
“I’m on a pension,” she explained, before disappearing.
It happens every time an animal turns up at its gates, Kim Halliwell and her daughter Kelly take one look and welcome it in with open arms.
And when they do, the strain on the centre increases that little bit more.
It’s easy to see how a well-meaning rescue centre can get swamped and eat up its minimal resources. In such circumstances, even the most dedicated of animal lovers like Kim and her daughter can lose sight of the real priority: what is best for the animals.
The Olive Press discussed with Kim the various problems and the best plan of action, specifically the overcrowded cages, uncleanliness, severe lack of funding and resources and the total absence of volunteers.
“Things are at tipping point now, we have no water or electricity here at the moment and it’s out of control,” admitted Kim.
“When people just dump puppies at my gate there is nothing I can do. If I complain, they tell me it’s my job to take them.”
“I want to halve the number of animals to make it manageable, so that I can have a more normal life and we can begin to work on the centre.”
There are currently some 80 dogs at the centre. Kim has admitted that the number needs to be halved to 40 or below to be manageable.
Meanwhile the cats – a staggering 120 of them – are a particular financial burden and Kim is desperately seeking new homes for them.
Simply throwing money at the problem will not work until a proper treasurer is in place to oversee finances. This is currently being looked into and anyone who thinks they could help should contact Kim (see below).
The centre’s requirements are twofold: crucially, regular volunteers to help at the centre and people willing to adopt and provide homes for the animals; and materials and equipment to improve the facilities, in particular a diesel generator, a water pump, tiles, cement and sand. Perhaps you have some left over from an old building project you would like to donate?
The vision is clear: create a centre with a smaller, manageable level of animals and a network of committed volunteers to keep it a clean, safe and happy – but hopefully short-term – refuge for abandoned animals desperate to find the loving home of their dreams.
Let the work begin!
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