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Shocking news from our partner in Uruguay. APA El Refugio is the only animal shelter in Montevideo and is particularly special to us because of the love and attention the volunteers give to elderly dogs there who have special needs.

El Refugio does a wonderful job, and Network for Animals is proud to work with them. The shelter is not rich and gets no help at all from the local authorities; It relies on us and other animal lovers like us, to pay the monthly bills, which can be very expensive because dogs with special needs require pricey food and specialist veterinary care. Vet costs are always draining so we shared El Refugio’s delight recently when a young vet from Venezuela offered to help at the shelter for one day a week.

The poor man arrived at a scene from hell. Four thugs armed with handguns, and obviously high on drugs, had broken into the shelter at 08h30 in the morning, while the dogs’ breakfasts were being prepared. The thugs attacked the cook and when the dogs started barking, attacked them too – remember that many of these dogs are elderly and infirm, and pose no threat to anyone.

The thugs rampaged through the shelter attacking staff and dogs, and the young vet walked straight into the middle of it. They brutally attacked him, leaving him bleeding on the ground and tried to steal his motorcycle. By this time, the dogs were making such an uproar that the thugs took fright and fled. As this is being written, police are still searching for them.

The vet is making a slow recovery but is so traumatized that he is uncertain if he will ever be able to return to the shelter. We can only hope for the sake of the dogs that he recovers fully and quickly.

We’ve dipped into our emergency fund and have sent El Refugio a sympathy donation of $1,000 (£730). If you’d like to make a small donation, we will be glad to pass it on.


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