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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The flat next to mine, in Valencia city, has a middle sized dog living in it 24/7. The owner of the dog and 'occupier' [in whatever capacity] of the flat lives mostly elsewhere. She comes to the flat briefly most days - but not every day - just to feed the dog.

She very rarely takes it out. Sometimes she lets it out of the flat. It rockets down the stairs and usually deposits a large lake and barker's nest in the lobby. The owner has never yet been known to clean up after this has happened.

The smell coming from this flat is just abominable. One of her windows onto the lightwell, adjacent to my salon/comedor windows, is open. The stench is beyond awful. I can't open my windows because of it.

The police did break in to this flat, some months ago. Their report, judged on the state of the place, included the assessment that the woman was not a fit person to keep animals [there was a cat, then, too] and was clearly in need to help from the social services. There is no electricity in this flat.

The police called the animal welfare squad. Just as they were about to remove the cat and dog, the woman's son turned up and declared he would be responsible for the animals. The animal squad left without them, the animals stayed put and the situation has remained unchanged. Unlike the RSPCA, who act on what they see, not what they may be told, the Spanish animal welfare people accepted this man's assurance, which was worthless.

My problem is that my Spanish is not good enough to deal with a bureaucratic procedure like this.

Has anyone any idea about the public health/hygiene angle on this situation? My gestoria say we must call the police. Surely this is a matter for the health/hygiene people, not the police?
 

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If the gestor says tell the police that's probably the best thing to do. It may well be that they are responsible for enforcing health and hygiene laws. Is there a Spanish or Spanish-speaking neighbour who can go with you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If the gestor says tell the police that's probably the best thing to do. It may well be that they are responsible for enforcing health and hygiene laws. Is there a Spanish or Spanish-speaking neighbour who can go with you?
Thanks for your rapid reply. My gestoria would ride shotgun with me.

In fact it was she who called the police back-along, having been at my flat supervising the gas man for 2-3 hrs, listening to the dog barking and howling and me reporting that it was still doing so several hours after she had left.

It's just that I find it difficult to twig that everything in Spain seems to involve the police.

They came in the first instance because it was possible that the woman was still in there, ill or even dead. I had reported that the dog had been howling for 5 days non-stop. At about 01:00 the jolly lads from the bombers went at the door gang-busters. What the police found horrified them. But no corpses.

I know it's a bit dopey to say "in the UK ... " but the relevant departments do look after matters on their remit without recourse to the police unless violence or breaches of public order occur or are likely.

More news as it comes in
 

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If the situation is that bad, surely it would be worth paying the gestor to speak to the police on your behalf? Gestor's aren't usually expensive and it would deal with the situation for you and make this poor animal's life more bearable?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
If the situation is that bad, surely it would be worth paying the gestor to speak to the police on your behalf? Gestor's aren't usually expensive and it would deal with the situation for you and make this poor animal's life more bearable?
Steve, that is exactly what happened a few months ago. In fact she called the police off her own bat, on the animal welfare issue.

Looks like we might have to repeat the process.

The problem seems to be that despite whatever the situation and conditions might be, if somebody tells the police that they will take responsibility for the animals on behalf of the owner, the police accept that, their report is not actioned and nothing further is done.
 

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The advantage of living in a small town is that you can go en masse to the mayor with this sort of problem and things do get actioned (though possibly not in August). I wish you luck, it's a horrible situation to be in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The advantage of living in a small town is that you can go en masse to the mayor with this sort of problem and things do get actioned (though possibly not in August). I wish you luck, it's a horrible situation to be in.
The co-owner of the management company for our building speaks good English. He has known of this issue since before I bought my flat 18 months years ago. He has tried to speak to the woman but she will not open the door to him. It seems she has mental health problems.

He says that "she does not pay her bills", so she is in arrears already and we are all paying an extra €200 x 12 this year for reformar de la fachada. So she'll be another €2400 short. He is very keen to see the back of her.

He is stymied by the fact that, to make progress, he has to have el Presidente of our community sign some papers. She will not do this because she herself is in schtuck with sizeable arrears to the community fund. I think thin end of wedge may be in her mind.

El Presidente will be sacked in September. The new prez will sign the paper. The police report can be obtained for +/- €30. We may get somewhere then, esp if the mental health/public hygiene people can come on board, as well as the animal welfare.

Meantime my gestoria and I will have another go with the police.

News just in .. I put a note on her door asking her to close the lightwell window because of the olor insufrible - and she has! I can't believe it! But it won't stay shut. She has washing lines outside it.

Imagine what it must be like in there!
 

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According to Google translate [which is where I got it from] and my Slovoed dictionary, 'insufrible' is kosher. 'insoportable' is an acceptable synonym.
I was just popping back to offer my apologies - I've just come across "insufrible" in a short story I'm reading (written in the late 19th century). But I swear I've never seen it before!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
More news as it comes in
Just in case anyone else has something similar blighting their life, be it dogs or whatever - the latest from Stink City.

Bear in mind that since my original post in months past, the dog has continued to be confined and the accumulated ordure has obviously increased accordingly. The smell is indeed 'insufrible'.

The Good News.

The Community President of last 2016-2017 has been sacked. She owes the community fund €2k and refused to co-operate with any issues affecting the community. Non-payment will, eventually, lead to eviction. I have reason to be cheerful at the prospect.

The new Pres is the Catholic Mission for Valencia, which occupies the ground floor of our building. The management company reports good relations with this organisation and progress with dealing with the issue of my neighbour, the owner of the dog, who is in need of 'social services' help because of her mental state.

The Bad News

The bad news is that, because of her mental state, my neighbour cannot be evicted for defaulting on community payments (owes €2300), unlike the previous Pres and two others, who owe +/- €2500 each.

One result of this situation is that, as there is no recourse to recover the arrears, failing a charitable or family payment, her arrears will have to be borne by the other residents.

How her future community payments are dealt with is a question I need to ask the management.

Is there such a thing as sickness benefit in Spain? Does it apply to metal health and can it be long-term?

My neighbour owns her flat. It is vanishingly unlikely she will voluntarily give up the dog. The guy at the management company told me that Spanish animal welfare law is "not even close" to that in UK.

The only hope of improving the situation is if she receives regular and frequent visits, perhaps from the Mission downstairs, to improve her way of life and the state of her flat.

Meawhile, my gestora recommends we call the police - again.

And I have, today, thrown money at a plug-in gizmo that takes aromatherpy oils and emits pleasant smells. If you can't beat it, hide it.
 

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The only hope of improving the situation is if she receives regular and frequent visits, perhaps from the Mission downstairs, to improve her way of life and the state of her flat.
Why not YOU???? Would benefit you, her and the mutt as it seems you are stuck with the situation.

The police have better things to occupy their time than a complaining neighbor about a "stink".
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Why not YOU???? Would benefit you, her and the mutt as it seems you are stuck with the situation.

The police have better things to occupy their time than a complaining neighbor about a "stink".
Your reply indicates that you have not read earlier posts on this.

As I have already said, I am surprised that issues that have nothing to do with law enforcement and criminal activity are still matters for the police in Spain. Your comment is exactly what I said before the police were called by my gestora. It is presumably a legacy of the police state that was the Franco regime.

Why not me? Because, as someone who has had to deal with clinical depression, I know that a kindly word and a nice cup of tea - or the Spanish equivalent - does not cut it.

This woman is in need of professional help. She is frequently incapably drunk. She lives - when in her flat - without electricity, as the police found when they broke in some months ago.

She lives in a twilight zone of depression, alcoholism, filth and degradation. She possesses a dog as a barking machine. The filth on the floor in her flat results, when she opens the door and the dog, in hysterics, cannons out onto the landing, is **** being smeared all over the tiles.

Why not me, indeed? Sorry - not qualified. How about you?
 

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I really feel for you. It must be a nightmare.

Animal welfare is indeed a police matter (SEPRONA, a dept of the Guardia Civil). But the dog's life must be at risk for them to confiscate it, which it presumably isn't in this case. So your best bet is to focus on the woman, who is clearly at risk.

Your ayuntamiento must have a social services department. Perhaps someone from there could go and give her some support?
 

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Is there not an equivalent of SPCA?
Not directly. There is PACMA, a political party focusing on animal rights, who sometimes take legal action against perpetrators of cruelty. It might be worth contacting them, though their resources are limited and possibly better spent trying to stop people setting fire to bulls' horns for fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
What about speaking to local health dept re smell?
That is exactly what I said to my gestora. But she said that the police have to be the first port of call. Why the police have to be involved in this sort of issue is what I find impossible to understand and, with due respect to the ways of Spanish governance, absurd.

To recap.

Some months ago she did call the police. They called the bomber boys, who broke through the door. The police looked round - the woman police officer was visibly shocked - and a report was filed, which included the statement that the woman was not a fit person to own an animal. No action has resulted from the police report, although, as well as the animal issue, the report stated that the woman was in need of social services welfare attention.

The animal welfare people were summoned. They were within mere moments of leaving with the dog and cat when the woman's son appeared and vouched for the care of the animals. The animal welfare people left without them. This would not have been the case in UK. The RSPCA act on what they see on site, not promises of better behaviour.

Of course, nothing has changed one whit.

As the director of the building's management company told me, "Spanish animal welfare laws are not like the British - not even close". He told me that a good deal of money could be spent following up this report and involving the legal profession - to no end.

When my gestora come here next week, we will call the police again.

Watch this space.
 
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