Almeria news | Protest over kennelled dog
The protest over the kennelled dog in Albox recently has been the subject of many a discussion in Albox. Spain Buddy spoke to Barney’s owner, Jean (Jan) Turbin, and the owners of Paws & Claws, Zoe Green and Paul Higgins.
Jean Turbin placed her cat (Susie) and dog (Barney) into the care of Paws & Claws kennels in June 2015. During a break-in at the kennels, Susie either escaped or was taken. She was eventually found and reunited with her owner but later died. Barney the dog has remained at the kennels until Tuesday August 11 when he was released into his owner’s care after a protest organised via Social Media.
I approached Paws & Claws to organise kennels for my pets before travelling to the UK for a hip operation. The booking was made for a period of 21 days although I wasn’t sure about the return date with the promise that I would communicate any delays to the kennels and arrange for additional payment if and when necessary.
I asked my friend Anne Campbell to drop the two pets off and to pay the deposit which was done. The pets were delivered on May 6 2015 with Anne paying a deposit of €150. At this point I did not know how long the pets would be in the kennels for and I did not indicate any firm end date to the kennel owners.
The kennel contacted me at the 21 day point to discuss an extension and to request more payment. I willingly provided my credit card details so the kennels could take a payment but was informed afterwards that a power cut had made this impossible. I asked about how I could make another payment and was told I could sort it out when I returned to Spain.
I received a call from the kennels two days later which began with a description of how secure and safe the kennels were. She (Zoe) went on for ages and alarm bells started to ring. I felt that something was very wrong and asked the question: “Are you trying to tell me something?” Zoe explained there had been a break-in the night before and that Susie the cat was missing. I requested they keep looking for Susie. I suggested they take Barney with them because he could help. I kept asking them what they were doing to find my cat that they had lost while she was in their care but apparently they had better things to do.
They did absolutely nothing to look for Susie; they only put a poster in a local shop.
On June 22 2015, I was collected from the airport by Anne Campbell and her partner and we travelled straight to the kennel to see what was going on. The first thing Zoe did was ask me how my flight was. I was obviously very upset about Susie and still can’t believe that’s how this woman started our conversation. We brought payment to cover Barney the dog’s boarding fee but it was slammed onto the desk when we handed it over. The kennel owners, Zoe & Paul, behaved aggressively towards us, physically pushed me and pushed Anne’s partner and aggressively removed us from the premises. Obviously I didn’t get to take Barney with me.
Ten days after I returned to Spain, I received a telephone call from a lady who lived close to the kennels to explain that she thought she might have found Susie but that my poor cat was in a poor state of health. This lady had been on holiday herself or she would have been out looking for Susie. She had been found very close to the kennels so they obviously hadn’t been looking for her at all. I got Susie home but she died three hours later.
I arranged for the Policia Local to visit the premises, which they did twice, and I was then informed that I was being denounced for harassment and that I was not to contact the kennels further.
A protest was organised for Tuesday August 11 at 6 pm to get Barney back.
I have tried several times to pay for Barney so I could get him back but this has constantly been refused.
During the protest, I had no money with me to pay for Barney – I only had about €30 on me – but a third party very kindly offered to pay €500 of the €991 that was being demanded on her credit card just so I could get Barney out. This was initially refused by the kennels because the payment did not come from me but was eventually agreed. They asked me to climb a number of stairs in order to sign some paperwork so that Barney could be released. That was very difficult for me because I had just had a hip replacement and am waiting for a further operation on my knee. But I had a couple of people help me up there. Barney was released into my care later that evening and I was finally able to take him home.
I took Barney to the vet the following morning for a health check. He was unkempt, with matted fur and someone has obviously hit him because he flinches whenever people go to pet him. He is very frightened.
It’s been a nightmare.
One of the protest organisers, Anne Judd, had the following to say after the event. “PAWS AND CLAWS protest was a success. After 3 hours and with the help from the Guardia negotiations with Paws and claws, they finally agreed to hand the dog over IF the old lady paid nearly 800 euros. This was for the whole 3 months, which included hostage time. That was not acceptable, and with more help from the Guardia, the price went down to 500 euros. One of the protesters offered to pay with her credit card. So the Guardia took the Lady up to the Kennel. Paws and claws then refused the payment as it was with a card. Once again the Guardia talked to them and they agreed to take it. Then they wanted the very elderly owner of the dog to go up alot of steps to the Kennel to give her NIE number. This was very difficult for her, she had to have support each side to get her up there. It was ridiculous. It was like PAWS AND CLAWS were playing games. After seeing the couple today, I’ve decided they are a sandwich short of a picnic, very strange people. So, I certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone take pets there to board. So here’s fotos of the kennels and of the moment Barney was released. He looked much older, was greyer. How sad. Thankyou to Euro weekly papers and almeria news paper for your support.
At last it’s over. And again, the power of Facebook rises again.”
Paws & Claws story
On April 28 2015 we were contacted by Jean Turbin, requesting information about booking her dog and cat into our kennels for a 21 night booking.
We responded inviting her to inspect our premises and meet with us although she declined. The following day Jean requested the 21 night booking for her dog and her cat. We replied with a quote and our terms and conditions.
On May 6 2015 a friend of Jean’s, referred to as Anne, arrived at our premises at 3:01 pm, with a dog and a cat. The dog and the cat were registered to the client that had contacted us on the April 28. However, the legal requirements had not been completed by the owner. This meant the animals were not “legal” in Spain and we should have refused them entry onto our premises until the legal requirements had been completed by the owner.
The cat was in significant state of distress and showing signs of shock from improper transport. This is the sole reason we allowed the dog and cat to enter our premises. We acted in the best interest of the animals despite the owner failing to comply with the laws regarding dogs and cats in Spain and our terms and conditions.
We offered Anne the chance to accompany the cat to the cattery but this was refused. We informed Anne that because the legal requirements of both the dog and the cat had not been completed by the owner both animals would need to be seen by our kennel vet. We also informed the owner of this as there would be additional charges to her invoice.
At approximately 2am on June 11 2015, our property was broken into. Regretfully, despite Zoe disturbing the thieves, they had gained access into the safety passage and forced two cattery doors open. On inspection of the cattery we found that all the cats were safe with the exception of a pen that had been forced and Susie was missing. We immediately searched our grounds and adjacent land by torch light until the batteries ran out. We recommenced searching at first light (6am), and continued to search for several days. The matter was reported to the Guardia Civil and the local vets, and Susie was registered as missing both with the Guardia Civil and on the national animal database. We informed Jean Turbin the following morning. Between then and June 21 we received more than 60 pages of threatening, defamatory, harassing emails from Jean which have been provided to the police along with recordings of several phone calls and messages from Jean and others on her behalf.
On June 21 2015 we contacted Jean because she did not arrive as had been advised previously. Jean explained that there were no flights by “Easyjet” on this date, she also denied stating that she would be arriving on the June 21 and she was actually arriving on the 22nd June. This contradicted her email to us on June 10 at 15:23pm which states: “Just to let you know that I am returning to Spain on June 21 very early in the morning.”
(Ed: Click images to view larger)
On June 22 2015, Jean arrived at the kennels with Anne and Anne’s partner / husband (Tony). From the moment they entered the office, they were shouting and made numerous threats and accusations and also threw money at Zoe. They eventually left when we told them the Guardia Civil would be called. We have since been made aware that an accusation of assault has been made against us. We have video surveillance which proves the accusation to be false and this has been made available to the police.
On June 23 2015 at 6:45 pm, Jean arrived at the kennels along with two men along with an officer from the Policia Local Arboleas. The officer explained that Jean said we were holding her dog ransom for payment for a cat which she denied ownership of, and she wanted her dog released. We provided the officer with proof of ownership of both animals and stated we were happy to release the dog upon payment and production of Jean’s NIE which we had repeatedly requested, and required in order to issue an IVA receipt.
After speaking to Jean alone the officer returned to our office and apologised for our inconvenience because Jean was adamant that she wanted her dog released without payment. She also refused the complaints book when it was offered via the officer.
At 7:45 pm the officer left because Jean was not prepared to make any payment and also because we were inside the Albox town boundary, outside of his jurisdiction.
At 5 pm on June 25, Seprona and the Guardia Civil visited our premises to investigate a denuncia made against us by Jean. During the course of the visit they inspected every animal on our premises, the
location of the break in, and all our paperwork.
Due to the seriousness of our own denuncia they took the step to refer our case to court for a judge to decide when and if Barney should be released and at what amount the final bill for Jean will stand at and how much compensation to award to us for the threats, harassment etc that we have suffered and which is still continuing.
At 6:30 pm, Seprona and the Guardia Civil left and told us that they are happy to leave Barney in our care with an increasing bill and to call them at any time should Jean or a person on her behalf contact us.
On July 14 2015 Susie was found and reunited with her owner. She had been found on the same rambla as our premises. We learned that Susie later died.
At 7:30 pm on July 22 2015, Anne arrived at our office again and repeatedly used car horns which distressed the animals in our care. We called the Guardia Civil.
At 8:45 pm the Guardia Civil contacted Jean Turbin and Anne Campbell and informed them that they were not to contact us, come to our premises or telephone us, or ask other people to do so on their behalf. They were also advised not to cause distress to the animals in our care.
On the evening of the protest, two Guardia Civil officers were with us throughout. They worked closely with us towards an mutually beneficial outcome. One of the officers asked: “What will it take to release Barney today?” We replied that we wanted payment. He sat with us, went through the documentation and agreed that €741 was fair. When he presented that figure to the protesters, it was initially refused. However – both parties were able to agree on a part payment of €500. He wrote a statement to that effect which both parties had to sign.
We agreed to release Barney, but not until the protesters had left because the shouting and car horns were distressing for the animals. Barney went home with his owner that evening.
There is a court case pending, so certain information is being withheld so as not to jeopardise the case for either party. Once the court case is completed, the rest of the information will be available. Such information confirms our claims and proves the sensationalist claims made on the internet to be lies.
From Spain Buddy
Unfortunately despite the full intention of Spain Buddy to be present at the protest, we had car problems so were being towed by grua in the opposite direction at the time of the protest – However, we would like to thank both parties for taking the time to chat to us at some length about their experiences.
This story will be further expanded upon after the impending court case.
by Elle Draper
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Gandy-Draper. Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, their three bouncing dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.