Our Heritage

PAWS-PATAS started in 1989 as a group of individuals working together to care for neglected and abandoned animals in the southern Almería area, and to work to find them new homes. It was registered in Spain as ‘Asociación de Protectora de Animales Patas’ in November 1996 with the registration number 4-1-1928.

It was a movement not only to fulfil the need for abandoned animals to be given a chance of a better life, but also to try to educate the local population on the best way to care for their animals.

From the very outset, our organisation has striven to serve our local communities.  This ethos runs through our organisation and informs our values and strategies. We were born to serve the needs of the animals who give us so much joy and assistance, and to support those who have difficulty dealing with unwanted pets – particularly during the breeding season. To this end, we are firm believers in neutering and in knowing how best to deal with animal diseases and injury. We operate a no-kill policy and only sanction an animal being put to sleep when there is simply no alternative.

Not for Profit

We are a voluntary organisation with an official registration in Spain as above. However, in many of our day-to-day operations, we seek to act in a commercially-focused and professional way in order to make the best possible use of the funding we receive.

Our philosophy is such that the money we receive is primarily for the benefit of the animals we serve. We use only the very minimum of our funding to cover our organisational costs and exercise regular reviews to reduce our overheads wherever possible. Any excess funds remaining at the end of the year (and there tends to be very little) is either used for immediate needs or put into a reserve fund for known future requirements.

We receive no public funding. All our funds come from donations and fundraising of various sorts: we only exist as a result of the loyal support we receive from people and organisations in Spain, the UK and elsewhere.

General Ethical Principles

We have built our reputation on the merit of our services and the widespread support we have received from people and organisations who have witnessed the positive contribution we have made to the welfare of animals in our area.

We refrain from competing with other organisations of a similar type: there is more than enough need for all our services, and we actively support and work in partnership with other organisations to secure the best possible outcomes for the animals in our charge. One very positive example of this is the work we do with organisations in Holland, Belgium, Germany and the UK to find loving, forever homes for both dogs and cats in our care that cannot be homed locally.


We have the greatest respect for the confidentiality of third party information as well as our own. All the data we maintain is protected and we divulge information to third parties only where it is absolutely necessary.

Ethical Principles

Our key Ethical Principles are:

  • Honesty:We will not say things that are false. We will never deliberately mislead.
  • We Keep Promises: We will go to great lengths to keep our commitments. We will not make promises that can’t be kept and we will not make promises unless we have the authority to do so.
  • Fairness: We will create and follow a process and achieve outcomes that a reasonable person would call just, even handed and non-arbitrary.
  • Respect for Others: We will be open and direct in our communication, and receptive to influence. We will honour and value the abilities and contributions of others, embracing the responsibility and accountability for our actions in this regard.
  • Compassion: We will maintain an awareness of the needs of others and act to meet those needs whenever possible. We will minimise harm to any animal, person or organisation. We will act in ways that are consistent with our commitment to social responsibility.
  • Integrity: We will live up to our ethical principles, even when confronted by personal, professional and social risks, as well as economic pressures

Our ethical policy, as well as our operating arrangements, are constantly monitored and reviewed. This is not only for our customers or clients to understand our attitude and the way we operate, but also for our volunteers and associates to be kept up-to-date and remain positive in respect of everything we do.

We treat with respect and consideration both animals and people – whatever their background or orientation. Ours is an equal opportunities organisation in every respect.

We strive to demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, honesty, and fortitude in all our activities in order to inspire the greatest confidence and trust. We regularly receive feedback from people who have worked with us, or taken animals into their homes, complimenting us on our standard of professionalism and humanity. This feedback has confirmed our ability to serve animals and people well.

Our colleagues, volunteers and partners

We explain very carefully to all those with whom we associate how we operate, the standards to which we perform, the types of situations we deal with and how we are “different” from statutory and other agencies involved in animal welfare.

We ensure that all the volunteers who work with us demonstrate an empathy for animal welfare and working without monetary reward. In doing so, we create an environment of colleagues passionate about their work with a non-profit organisation.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in fundraising wherever possible. We have been fortunate in having the support of some very dedicated fundraisers over the years – many of whom are prepared to “go the extra mile” to promote our cause and to ensure our continued existence.

Treating animals and people fairly

We pride ourselves on being able to find the right opportunity and outcome for every animal and human being with whom we have contact. If an animal takes a long time to rehome successfully, so be it. One dog found a wonderful new home through PAWS-PATAS after nearly nine years in shelter conditions: there is always the right person prepared to do the right thing, even if it takes a long time to bring that match to fruition.

Environmental Policy

While we are a relatively small operation, we recognise that our environmental impact and sustainability are an important part of our ethical policy.

We have an environmental policy which seeks to make the maximum impact in all our operating activities, including:

  • Preserving endangered species and animals threatened with extinction in our local area
  • Making full use of recycled products and donated second-hand goods wherever we can
  • Cutting down on office needs and the waste of paper
  • Monitoring and reducing energy usage throughout the organisation
  • Incentivising all our volunteers to work better with less and make suggestions on how we can further reduce our costs