Qatar: abandoned dogs in full pandemic are seeking a family [PHOTOS]
DOHA — Izzy was so emaciated that she could barely stand when she was found along with other puppies on a vacant lot in the Qatar, a wealthy Gulf country where many pets have been abandoned in the midst of a crisis of the COVID-19.
Born of a cross between several breeds, including Persian greyhound, Izzy has escaped death before being adopted by a family who lives in Germany.
Many other pets have not had this chance. With the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, many of the expatriate family could leave the country and leave behind their companions.
“We expect a wave of calls for help. We have already received a few,” confirmed to theAFP Alison Caldwell, co-founder of the animal shelter and Paws (“paws” in English), who saved Izzy.
Stray animals are exposed to various hazards, including, specificity of Qatar, summer temperatures up to 50 degrees.
In the early days of the epidemic, Paws has seen a rise in dropouts, with families who feared that their animals are nests of infections. Others have been abandoned by the owners, fell suddenly ill.
Since march, the virus has resulted in the death of 113 persons in Qatar on 95 000 people living with the disease and for a population of 2.75 million inhabitants.
“We’ve already had a small influx, but there is nothing we can really do,” laments Alison Caldwell. Paws believes that stray animals can be counted by the tens of thousands in Qatar.
“Friends of flight”
Izzy was adopted in April by a German family tenderized by its story published on the page Facebook of Paws. But with the suspension of the brutal air traffic, imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, dogs adopted abroad remain blocked in Qatar.
From his home near Bremen, in northern Germany, Christina Fuhrer says she remains “just sitting there, waiting for” the resumption of flights to Izzy to catch up.
Cruelty to animals is a major problem in Qatar.
Photos AFP, Karim Jaafar
In the meantime, the dog was taken temporarily by a foster family.
“We decided that this would be a good thing to do this summer, because we’re obviously nowhere,” says theAFP Julie Melville, who welcomed Izzy.
Paws uses “friends of flight”, of the passengers volunteers who are transporting a pet as extra luggage, and to lead them where lives the family of adoption.
Lack of education
“We already have a significant number of animals who are waiting to fly to their “permanent home”,” says toAFP Hester Drewry, co-director of Paws, saying that it hoped that they will be able to travel in July and August.
Paws was founded in 2014 by two british expats in the face of the explosion in the number of abandoned animals and strays in Qatar, a wealthy gas producing country which is populated by foreigners in recent years.
Funded by donations and his service as temporary housing for companion animals, the association can accommodate 60 cats and 30 dogs, but the members of his team of volunteers are often involved other animals.
She has contributed to adopt about 1,000 animals, including many overseas, where the hunting dogs saluki, greyhound Persian from the Middle East, remain sought-after.
Cruelty to animals is a major problem in Qatar, according to Hester Drewry, due to a lack of education and the constant flow of expatriates who usually comes to live there for short periods of time.
To raise awareness about the animal welfare, Paws is involved in the schools. Interventions that will only resume when the schools will re-open their doors.