In a town of just over 1,200 people, the story of Lorena Blanco and her team from the civil protection department Moclinejo challenged traditional restrictions. So much so that they set a precedent at the national level, becoming the first animal rescue initiative in emergency situations from the country.
The plan known as Animal Rescue and Protection Unit of Malaga (Upra Malaga)marked a revolution in approaches to animal welfare, breaking paradigms and setting a new standard for animal care and rescue.
Blanco, a technician for the Moclinejo City Council, and the municipality’s civil protection team began to notice “the neglect of animals in critical situations.” Given the lack of attention and neglect, they decided to spearhead a radical initiative: creating the first emergency animal rescue unit – an idea that the local administration initially considered “crazy.”
The tireless commitment of the Upra Málaga team is evident not only in the stories of rescue, but also in the efforts to change long-held perceptions and protocols. Featuring stories of rescued animals, from reunions with their owners to roadkill animals recovering and finding new homes in different countries, has helped raise awareness among the administration.
However, the turning point occurred during floods in Campanillas, where there was an obvious urgent need for a team of volunteers capable of intervening and rescuing injured animals. This situation has increased the awareness of municipal authorities, which has led to significant changes in established protocols.
The administration succumbed to evidence of the rescue team’s effectiveness by awarding them an award for their work. This marked an important shift in institutional approach: “a move away from the standard protocol of catching animals and sending them to a shelter to a model that offers opportunities to older dogs, dogs with illnesses or disabilities, giving them a second chance rather than a destination. “It’s unfortunate,” says the technician.
Despite initial criticism, rescue efforts were necessary. From knock dogs off abandoned cats In extreme conditions, a team led by Blanco, Civil Protection and volunteers intervened in dramatic situations. They managed to save more than 200 dogs and get busy 90 catsworking tirelessly to give them a second chance.
In addition to rescue operations, they carried out various actions. From collaborating with security forces to training in animal emergency procedures, the team has made multidisciplinary efforts to raise awareness.
He community efforts was the basis of this visionary project. One of the notable assistance came from the only bar in the municipality. King’s barwho gave up a significant plot of land, specifically 24 meters of plot, to house and support the operation of the animal shelter. This gesture of solidarity and generosity was fundamental to the rescue team, providing a vital space where rescued animals could receive help. care and protection while they recover and wait to be adopted.
The work of this team of volunteers has transcended boundaries. Their actions resonated in countries such as Belgium, Germany and USAwhere the rescued animals found a home.
This team’s goal goes beyond saving animals; It extends to human generosity and empathy in sensitive situations. They have developed innovative programs such as course for women and victims of gender-based violencewhere therapy using protection dogs was integrated.
They also provided invaluable support children with terminal cancer, allowing them to enjoy the company of dogs on their difficult journey, offering a special connection and unrivaled comfort during such delicate moments. The initiative, “led by a healthcare colleague, has made a significant difference in the quality of life of these little warriors, giving them moments of happiness and comfort during times of adversity,” adds Blanco.
In addition to their humanitarian work, the team has invested time and effort into training and educating the public. They were trained in emergency interventions with animals and spent working dog shows raise awareness and awareness of the importance of animal welfare.
In addition, they organized charity gala concerts with cultural performances where animals are the protagonists, inviting young performers to share their talents for this noble cause.
Obviously, maintaining a shelter of this scale requires a lot of effort. Despite some donations, mostly coming from Belgium, which help pay some of the bills, much of the support comes from self-managed initiatives. To finance it, activities such as sales at markets, stores and charity evenings are necessary.
However, reality is inexorable. The demand for resources far exceeds current funding sources. The shelter must incur significant daily costs for animal food, and despite best efforts, sometimes the hours spent are not enough to adequately care for all the animals. Added to this is the organization of events that, although they raise awareness around 600 euros each of them is on average insufficient compared to the total costs.
Expenses that exceed 20,000 euros “or even 40,000 euros”, range from facility maintenance to veterinary and transportation costs. The current government subsidy, which ranges from 2000 and 4000 eurosis far from meeting these needs, leaving the shelter in a compromised situation.
Despite some assistance from the Municipal Council in the form of cleaning products and monthly allocation 400 eurosthe financial burden remains, especially in the face of new policies that force city councils to shoulder these costs.
According to the new law, “it is necessary and even mandatory that responsibility for budget execution falls on city councils.” According to Blanco, this has caused constant complaints among the mayors of some municipalities, who point to lack of financing lines fulfill these new obligations imposed by law.