IT was one of the most vicious dog fights of last year.
But now a snarling war of words between an animal rescue boss and furious former workers looks to have reached a new chapter.
Beleaguered Kim’s Animal Rescue Centre, in Mijas, has been put up for sale due to financial difficulties.
It comes after thousands of euros were donated to bring the centre up to humane standards, following a damning Olive Press investigation last September.
Now critics and donors claim boss Kim Halliwell is ‘planning to cash in’ having spent the money putting on a new roof and renovating the shelter.
One said: “After all the donations that came in following the campaign to get the new roof, now she is cashing in and selling the place. Surely this is charity money?”
Another added that the proceeds of the sale of the property, on the market for €180,000, should not go to Halliwell and her daughter Kelly.
After all, they insist the pair were not capable of running a centre that was proven to be filthy, unhygienic and overcrowded.
Dozens of former volunteers slammed the treatment of animals last year, before the Olive Press launched an urgent appeal to help sort out the mess, cutting down the number of animals by 50%.
It came as Junta inspectors demanded the centre improve or close its doors, and for some months improvement works took place and all animals were vaccinated.
But, so serious was the underlying problem that Halliwell is currently being ordered to pay €20,000 by Mijas Town Hall after failing to meet repayments on a loan initially taken out to build kennels. A further €12,000 is due over the next five years.
Halliwell, from Manchester, confirmed the sale last night, saying: “I have to sell the place or it is going to be repossessed, we are going through court at the moment.
“When I was employing staff here two years ago it meant I didn’t have enough money to pay the loan back.”
She insists she will be merely relocating to another location in the Costa del Sol area, with all 80 cats and 52 dogs currently in her possession.
But critics insist Halliwell has shunned help to get the problem sorted out.
“Now she has completely closed down on communicating with anyone,” said Jacqui Ross, owner of Last Chance Animal Rescue, which previously offered a home for all of Halliwell’s dogs.
“Selling the centre is so unfair on the people who have donated to improve it over the years and make it a suitable home for all the animals she has living there.”
I got 2 of my dogs from Kim 15 years ago and I amforever greatful to her for saving their lives. I know the land her shelter is on was hers long before she set up her charity, then SOS. I know she, like many others on this coast has dedicated her life to helping animals in need. I know that the financial crisis from 2008 to very recently almost destroyed her charity, and I also know that there are a lot of people here who love to gossip and ridicule, but I think if all the animal workers got together in their supposed common cause the animals would stand a better chance. She has every right to sell her land and move her animals anywhere she likes
I have known Kim for several years now and like everyone she has her faults, stubborn, bags of pride and maybe a little more attitude than many would like but she also has a huge passion for what she did and does. It is very easy to take on more than you can realistically handle especially when animals in a dire situations are involved and it is very hard to say “NO” when someone turns up at your door with a litter of puppies and the attitude ” you take them or I drown them”.
Right or wrong Kim has done what SHE thought was right at the time, retrospectively it may not have been correct but we are all guilty of having times like that, advice offered may not have been heeded but again no one can stand and say “I am perfect” but how many times have you then been hounded, bad mouthed and driven to despair for believing in what you are doing.
There are people who have been in Kim’s life who should not have been involved with the rescue, offering their input and having a little more power and influence than they should but that was Kim’s choice and she is now paying a very personal price for it.
People involved in rescue work will always have their finances questioned, how come you can afford this place when you move or who paid for this, who paid for that and you will always have someone ready to try and take you down by saying things and then letting the Chinese whispers take hold, Jaqui has found herself on the receiving end of that recently.
Kim is by no means a saint but nor is she the giant devil that some have made her out to be, she is simply a person who has tried to make a difference and without her being here for the last 20yrs making that difference, influencing other people who then start their own charity there would be many dead animals who now have at least a CHANCE.
Absolutely true and well said, she is definitely not the monster the olive press and others are making her out to be. Because of the attacks from the groups, started by JR, Kim is finding it almost impossible to operate. Because of some of the groups actions many, many dogs will be destroyed rather than saved and they can all look to themselves and say, We did that! Kim is not perfect but she has a very good heart when it comes to the animals.
If all the ayuntamientos (not just Mijas) fulfilled their financial obligations many of the rescues would not be suffering so much. At the end of the day the only thing that really matters is how many animals are saved and found kind homes. Moaning and backbiting doesn´t have a place here.
I always feel sorry for the innocent animals…they are the ones who suffer…by being abandoned, maltreated etc. Too many are dumped in secret at the gates of refuges, in the dead of night. And so many associations are crying out for money to feed the animals. I admire anyone who can live in Spain, take in animals…It has to be a passion, I can’t see anyone making money out of it! But to refuse help offered to take some of the animals…I don’t understand that.
I agree with Barbara Lorne 100€
There are a lot of people out there, that do not know that it was Kim & her ex husband who first brought the land many years ago before most of us even thought about moving to spain, let alone getting involved with the animals, her ex husband worked and Kim started to rescue the animals, she has re homes hundreds in all the years that they have been up and running, there may have been a time when a lot of people had decided that she was taking thousands of euros from donations and living the high life, but let me assure the people that only bad mouth her, please take the time to look around the other rescue centres and see how they all run !! they can not survive without donations from every day people, they all need money to help the animals that people dump, especially when they have to go back to england and leave their animals behind, its the likes of the rescue centres that pick up the bills for these animals not the people who dump them or hand over a few euros and then forget them !! she like others do a great job , and unless you have been really been involved in animal rescue, take some time out and try it and see how long you last without help financially.
Woops, regarding my last comment, obviously the 100€ was meant to be 100%.
I also agree with Rona Clark. I do not know Kim so am unable to comment on
her, but I am sure she has done all that she possibly can. So many people are
very quick to criticize. It is not easy to run an animal sanctuary and until you
have worked in one, it is sometimes better to …..keep quiet…… or offer voluntary
help.(Obviously I am not saying keep quiet if you see cruelty etc.) There are hundreds
of people that could help out at their local sanctuary, by walking dogs etc. but they
do not bother.
I am one of the many people who have donated my hard earned cash to Kim…..no more…..other rescue centres that i work closely with, offered several times to help her and re home or temp foster her animals to enable herself to get sorted, but she shunned their help at every turn and was downright rude and obnoxious……its the animals i feel sorry for and if she really cared she would put her stupid pride to oneside……..i am disgusted.
kim has helped thousands of dogs over the years, maybe not always luxurious surroundings but better than suffering or being killed on the road.
she has hit difficult times, dont knock her, all these perfect people slagging her off need to get their heads out of there arses. nobody is perfect including you lot.