A brief history of CAS
The Costa Animal Society, one of the coast’s longest established animal charities, is celebrating its silver jubilee this year. Now based in Nerja, CAS has its roots in a group established in Marbella in 1986.
The man behind CAS was an American, Brunio Lupio, whose dream was to establish a network of volunteers along the Costa del Sol in an effort to help the homeless and abandoned animals which were common in many communities. Unfortunately, the venture foundered and his office closed in the early 90s, at which time animal lovers in Nerja took over the project.
In the next few years, activity continued in a limited way with only a dozen animals in care at any one time by the start of the new century. However, the last ten years have seen a period of considerable expansion with numerous cats and dogs either in kennels or entrusted to foster families until new, permanent homes can be found. At any time now, there can be up to 200 animals on the CAS website – www.casnerja.org – with between 50 and 60 being re-homed every month.
Many find new families in the immediate area, but an increasing number are flown to northern Europe, thanks to an agreement with a Dutch animal charity Hond zoek Huis. Animals travel from Málaga to the Netherlands and Germany, and in February, a dog called Olive became the 250th to be re-homed in this way when she was adopted by a Dutch family.
Sadly, the number of abandoned animals has increased in recent months as the economic crisis forces ex-pat families to return to their home countries. Many find they cannot afford the cost of preparing and transporting their pets and, as a result, CAS’s financial resources are stretched thinner and thinner. In the last five years, the charity spent 125,000 euros on vets’ fees and 220,000 euros on kenneling.
However, apart from an occasional small grant from the Nerja Caves Foundation, CAS receives no income from any level of government and relies on donations, fund-raising events and fees paid by its 200 members. No-one is paid for their work with CAS.
CAS is being hit hard financially by the economic downturn. Recently it sold its charity shop and office and took a lease back on it, in order to clear some of the debts. The charity’s president, Wendy Thorne, warned, “The future is bleak as, without donations being received from the general public or corporate sponsorship, it is difficult to see how CAS can maintain its current level of support for the area’s forsaken animals.”
Founder Brunio Lupio died last year but his vision lives on amongst the present volunteers. The 25th anniversary year is being spent continuing CAS’s only purpose of helping abandoned and maltreated animals.