How to report animal mistreatment in Spain
We are regularly contacted about abused, mistreated or neglected horses, ponies and donkeys in our region and we will always do our best to help these animals. But please be aware that our organisation is basically just the two of us – Sue and Rod Weeding – and we have only a small team of part-time volunteers who help us, so our resources are very limited.
If you see an animal at risk, there is one step you must take before we can intervene.
The first step must always be to officially report the matter to police (see below for more detailed instructions on who to call and how to make an official denuncia, and click here for English versions of animal welfare laws that apply across the Valencian province). In almost all cases, we cannot step in to save an animal until we have official permission from the police.
We believe this is the only way forward for animal welfare in Spain. We cannot simply go around collecting unwanted horses, as owners will believe they can get away with mistreatment and we will not move the situation forward at all. A denuncia sends a clear message that abuse and neglect will not be tolerated.
You are welcome to alert us to cases of mistreatment by contacting us on firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning +34 652 021 980 during business hours.
Then, when making your report to the authorities, you can tell police that you have contacted us at the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre and that we may be able to assist. This can help move the case forward more quickly, as the police will understand that there is somewhere to take the animal after it has been seized from its owner. We believe a lot of past police inaction stemmed from a lack of places to house seized animals.
For emergencies where an animal is injured or in immediate danger
Call the Guardia Civil on 062.
The Guardia Civil is Spain’s national police force. Their emergency contact number, 062, is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.
Seprona (Servicio de Protección de la Naturaleza) is a Guardia Civil unit that manages nature conservation and animal welfare across Spain. You can also email Seprona on email@example.com.
To report a welfare concern
To report an act of animal cruelty, mistreatment, neglect, injury or distress in Spain, you must go to the police in person and make a written report, called a denuncia.
This must be done at your local Police Comisaría. See this link for a full list of local offices across every region in Spain. Denuncias are best done in Spanish so you may need to take a Spanish-speaker to the police station with you.
You can also report the matter to your local ayuntamiento (council). See this link for a full list of local ayuntamiento offices across every region in Spain.
We will try to help if possible but please be aware that we have only a small team of part-time volunteers and our resources are very limited.
How to make an official report (denuncia) to police
Gather as much information as possible about the case. This includes details such as:
- A description of the animal or animals.
- The condition of the animal or animals.
- Photos of the animal or animals, if possible.
- The type of mistreatment, cruelty or neglect.
- Whether the animals have access to shelter, food and water.
- The exact location of the animal or animals.
- The name and address of any other witnesses.
- The name and address of the person you believe may be responsible for mistreatment.
Always make sure your report is made in writing. Make your complaint in Spanish if you can. When you present the report to police, they will stamp it and give you a stamped copy to keep. This serves as proof that an official complaint has been made.
In our experience it is rare for action to be taken quickly. You will likely have to be persistent and will probably need to follow up the complaint a number of times. It may be helpful if you can get other people to complain, too. The more complaints received about a case, the more likely it is that action will be taken.
If you are making your complaint to the ayuntamiento, you may need to remind them that they have the power to act under animal mistreatment laws. Article 21 of Law 4/94 is particularly important. Council officials should know this, but some may not. Click here for the relevant excerpt from the law in English.
Although the Valencian community has relatively strong animal mistreatment laws, getting these laws enforced can be difficult as authorities are at times reluctant to act. In such cases, we apply as much pressure as we can, but please be aware that our rescue centre has no legal power.
We do feel that things are gradually improving as the mistreatment of animals becomes increasingly publicly unacceptable across the Alicante province. However, for these changes to really take hold, those in power must understand that the majority of people want to see an end to animal cruelty.
Public opinion is the most powerful force for change. So please, if you come across any case of cruelty towards any animals, do your bit to help drive change and report the abuse to police immediately.
"Maybe you can't change the world by saving one horse but you can change the whole world for the horse that you save." – Easy Horse Care co-founder Sue Weeding