The Belgian Fabienne Paques and Dutchman Ton van den Broek were planning to enjoy sunny Spain until Fabienne was confronted with the pitiful situation of the many (stray) dogs and the 'solution' the Spanish government had found for this problem. It is generally known that Spaniards have a different opinion about 'keeping' dogs but the fact that many badly neglected and abused dogs are massively being destroyed in the so called Perrera's (killing stations) hurt Fabienne deeply. Together with Ton she decided to join hands and December 14th, 1999 Animal Care Espana, Spanish Honden in Need was founded, in short called ACE | SHIN.
At the beginning they rented some kennels inside the killing station El Refugio in Mijas Costa. The dogs staying at these kennels didn't receive the deadly injection but were cared for lovingly by Fabienne.
Fabienne's husband, Dirk took polaroid photographs of the dogs and tried to bring them to the attention of potentially adopters.The dogs were promoted by tourists on the terraces and friends and family. Slowly but surely ACE | SHIN was growing into a large shelter.
Fabienne became known by more and more people and soon a small team of volunteers and workers were busy giving the dogs of killing station El Refugio a better life. Eventually Fabienne and Ton got the chance to rent all kennels and the killing station was transformed into the current shelter where the animals receive care and attention and a fair start to a loving future, a 'Golden Basket'.
The needless killing of dogs on the notorious fridays are forever a thing of the past. The ditches along the road up to the refugio where thousands of dog corpses are lying were covered. Until today, they are still lying there as silent witnesses of what has happened there on fridays.
Dirk's polaroid photo's have been replaced by a modern data base. Via internet and social media more people are reached. Since 1999, ACE | SHIN has flown more than 13.000 dogs to their new owners. With adoptions in Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Finland and Denmark, ACE/SHIN has grown into one of the most experienced rescue organizations in Spain and is specialized in the adoption of Spanish dogs in need.
The shelter has been renovated and modernized. Thanks to sponsors a small clinic has been established where the vet can give first medical care and perform small operations. There is also a recovery room, a quarantine area, an area for washing and grooming the dogs and an office with space for visitors. Dutch and Begium students, studying with recognized vocational training institutes, come to the refugio for an internship.
Fabienne is the face of ACE | SHIN. Almost weekly she visits the still exisiting Killing stations to buy free as many as possible dogs to save them, she is responsible for the organization in the shelter.
Under the leadership of Dirk, new renovations and expansions are being realized every year. Ton, as treasurer, has the difficult job to keep the shelter financially balanced.The number of dogs is going up while income and donations are going down. Moreover Spain is suffering from a bad crisis.Luckily there is help. More than 250 volunteers in several countries are working on a daily basis to support ACE/SHIN in different ways. A succes formula in which they all share the fate of Spanish dogs in need.