By Humphrey Carter

THE Centro Canino International animal shelter is facing closure again and could be forced to shut down next week.
The news caught the Centro Canino by surprise yesterday and spokesperson Julie Ford said it had come as a “bombshell.” The decision was announced by the Palma City Councillor for Health, Begoña Sanchez, on Friday who explained yesterday that the animal shelter does not have the necessary licenses to operate as a refuge for abandoned animals and therefore will be served with a closure order next week.

According to the council, the centre does have a breeder's license and subsequent permission to house a maximum of ten dogs and once the closure order is served, the shelter will have just 48 hours to cease operations and rehouse the animals it is currently looking after.

In February, the Centro Canino was threatened with closure by the former Partido Popular-run city council.
The decision provoked a public outcry and in April, the council gave the shelter a stay-of-execution - providing it applied for all the necessary licenses and permits.

Julie Ford said yesterday that all the licenses required by the Authorities have been applied for and are in the process of being processed.
However, despite being pointed in the right direction by the council in April, it appears that the license to operate a kennels was not applied for until September.

Yesterday, Centro Canino's lawyers and its president Juan Gil were discussing their options while the shelter was bombarded with telephone calls from supporters, many furious about the council's decisions.

Ford confirmed yesterday that the centre does have a breeder's license, although she categorically denied that Centro Canino has ever bred animals, but still does not have the necessary licenses to operate as an animal shelter.

Since April, the centre has been caring for the animals which were in its care when the first closure order was served but, officially, has been unable to take in any more animals until it gets its license which, according to Juan Gil, is due to be issued shortly. “We have done everything possible to meet the demands of the local authorities and we have complied with all the advice they have given us,” Ford said yesterday. “We have been fighting a running battle for six years now and we don't know what else to do. What we do know, however, is that there are hundreds of abandoned and maltreated animals in need of a good home and care in Majorca and we are in limbo,” she said. “We have widespread support here on the island and overseas and people can't believe the problems we are having. It's not a good image for Majorca. “We thought the new council would be more understanding,” she added. “Just what we and the animals need at Christmas.”