Devastated Albufeira animal champions told “shelter must close”

Albufeira animal champions – a group that has often been forced to take the job of rescuing mistreated animals to the levels of Navy seals – are now in desperate need of help themselves.

The tiny shelter they have been running on “patch of land with a ruin” for the last six years, rescuing and rehoming as many as 400 animals, has suddenly been whipped from under their feet.

Unbeknown to them, the original owner of the property must have died.

“A couple of days ago, the new owner appeared out of nowhere and demanded that we vacate the shelter immediately”, said lead volunteer Isabel Searle, adding “the world has fallen from under my feet”.

The shelter is currently home to 23 dogs – not one of which is to be left behind, vows Searle.

The deadline for moving out is the end of October, “at a big push” perhaps by mid-November.

Thus an appeal is already underway.

The most important job now is to find a replacement location: a “small piece of land, as close to Albufeira as possible, where we can move all the dogs to”, she told us.

Volunteers do not have the money they need for building materials like “fencing, gates, cement, roofing, wood”, so that’s the next challenge.

An online appeal to raise €5000 went up online last night (click here), but that still leaves two other big issues: a need for people who could help with building, and people who could step in and offer homes to some of the animals in the shelter’s care.

As Isabel Searle explained, “moving 10 will be a lot easier than moving 23…”

It is a huge mountain to climb for an association of people who were already stretched to their limits with animal work – some of it extremely dangerous as they address situations that even the authorities do not want to tackle.

“We have to find a solution”, said Searle – a well-known face also in Albufeira’s summer protests against bullfighting in the town.

“Maybe someone has a little piece of land we could use. It only needs to be agricultural. We could move our caravan there, and work on finding someone willing to stay there…”

For now, it’s ‘in the lap of the Gods’ and Searle for one “believes in angels”.

Of one thing, she is certain. Whatever happens, “no animal will end up in the canil (municipal pound)”.

Anyone who thinks they could help should contact Isabel Searle via Facebook.

As her group of friends discusses the problem over social media, one has commented: “My friend, we will find a way, we always do”.

Let’s see if we can help them.

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