Browsing 'animal welfare' News

Ministry of Environment revives plans for Qatar animal rescue shelter

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Dan A'Vard/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

With many private animal rescue shelters in Qatar stretched to capacity, a new government facility initially scheduled to open north of Doha this December now appears to be several years away.

Last month, the Ministry of Environment and Ashghal issued a tender for a firm to provide consulting services, including pre-design work as well as to oversee the construction tendering and contract award.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Dogs in Doha/Facebook

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Few details were published, apart from an expectation that the contractor would complete the work within 827 days of being awarded the job, likely pushing the project into 2018.

Past reports said construction of the facility, which is to be located in Umm Salal north of Duhail, was to begin in January 2014 and wrap up by the end of this year.

However, an animal welfare volunteer told Doha News that it was her understanding that the project was still in the planning stages.

The initial vision for the facility was to build some 120 kennels over 3,000 sqm of land.

Ministry of Environment officials were not immediately available to provide more details on the tender.

Currently, animal rescue services are largely decentralized and led by several volunteer-run organizations that have struggled at times to handle the influx of stray and abandoned animals brought to their premises, as well as pay for food, vaccinations and other operations.

Charitable status

While authorities in Qatar appear to moving ahead with construction of a new shelter, many other governments around the world opt to support privately run non-profit animal welfare centers rather than operate their own facilities, according to Janet Berry, the co-founder of the Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS).

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Peter Kovessy

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She said the money being allocated to construct the new shelter could go a long way towards supporting and stabilizing the country’s five existing facilities.

“We have a volunteer base, we have the facilities and the know-how,” she said.

Other organizations, such as Paws Rescue Qatar (PAWS), say they’ve offered
to run a government-funded pound where rescued animals could be held until they are adopted or relocated, but that authorities have so far been unresponsive to the idea.

In addition to financial support, Derry said the government could help organizations such as QAWS by granting them charitable status so that they can more easily solicit donations.

“We do what we do, and love what we do. It could just be that much easier if we could sit down with the authorities. We want to help them as much as we would like some help,” she said, adding that even though QAWS is “treading water” it still has a positive working relationship with the government.

Derry said QAWS is currently caring for some 160 dogs, 100 cats and a handful of farm animals. The 13-year-old organization has a waiting list of other animals waiting to be dropped off.

Thoughts?

Qatar’s South African community raises record 2 tons of food for QAWS

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Chantelle D'mello

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As Qatar’s animal welfare charities struggle to meet increased demand to help homeless and injured pets during the summer, one of the nation’s oldest and largest shelters has recently received a two-ton boost.

Over the weekend, the Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS) announced on its Facebook page that, thanks to a food drive organized by members of Doha’s South African community, it has taken in its largest-ever single donation of pet food.

QAWS food donation

QAWS/Facebook

QAWS food donation

The 2.2 tons of food is enough to feed the shelter’s residents for a month and will save the volunteer-run organization around QR20,000 in bills that will instead be used at the veterinarian’s and for other expenses, the group said in a statement.

Craig Swartz

Facebook

Craig Swartz

The fundraising drive was organized by South African Craig Swartz. He said he was inspired to take action after the shelter launched an appeal in June to raise the QR51,000 it needed to cover its rent during the summer.

QAWS pays QR17,000 a month rent for the shelter, which is located on a farm just west of Doha. Like all other animal welfare groups, it struggles to find the resources to look the hundreds of animals in its care, especially during the hottest months of the year.

Launching his own social media campaign, Swartz called on fellow South Africans to donate.

In nine days, around 70 families had gifted enough money to buy 2.2 tons of food, while Swartz’s employer, Jassim Transport & Stevedoring Company, agreed to help with the logistics of delivering the large amount of food to the animal shelter on Friday.

Speaking to Doha News, Swartz said:

“I wanted to make an impact and make people realize that there is a huge need for donations, particularly in the summer. When we went out to the shelter to give them the food, I was very humbled as what I saw there.

“They (the volunteers) are doing an incredible job, really a thankless job.”

Swartz chose just one charity as the focus of this donation, to raise awareness of the volume of animal food needed to keep the shelters running.

However, he said he has now decided to make the food drive a bi-annual event, to help out other animal rescue groups in the future.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Dogs in Doha/Facebook

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

He also challenged other groups in Qatar to beat the South Africans’ fundraising record.

“The dogs need food. I would love to hear of other communities coming together to do the same sort of thing,” he added.

QAWS has run a rescue shelter in Qatar for more than 10 years, and also arranges fostering and adoption for homeless animals.

Earlier this summer, one of its founding members Kelly Allen told Doha News that its services had particularly come under strain this year as many residents who had been made redundant were abandoning their pets before leaving the country for good.

This time of year is particularly difficult for all animal charities, as many of their supporters are away on vacation and so they are short of foster and adoption parents until they return in September.

Raising awareness

Since QAWS opened more than a decade ago, a half dozen other animal rescue groups have also come into operation:

Qatar animal charity infographic

Infograph.com

Qatar animal charity infographic

According to this infographic designed by Qatar resident Marsya Karmila, founder of infoqraph.com, there are at least seven groups here that are mostly run by local volunteers, and provide different types of care to abandoned and stray animals.

While all of those featured run adoption and fostering programs in Qatar and abroad, four also provide animal shelters – QAWS, 2nd Chance Rescue Qatar, Cat Assistance Team Qatar and Paws Rescue Qatar (PAWS).

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

PAWS/Facebook

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Without state assistance, all the groups struggle on a monthly basis to pay their costs, with many volunteers coming up the money for vet and food bills themselves.

Many of the animal rescue volunteers have been calling for a government pound to be set up, and a shelter at Umm Salal is planned to be built by the Ministry of Environment on 3,000sqm of land, to include some 120 kennels.

While it is expected to open this December, no updates have yet been given on the project.

Thoughts?

VIDEO: Qatar’s animal rescue centers struggling to keep up

As an increasing number of dogs and cats in Qatar are abandoned by their owners, the five rescue centers here that care for these animals have said that they are quickly running out of space and money.

Adding to the problem is that animals living on the streets are often in bad health, requiring extensive – and costly – medical care to return to full health, a requirement before shelters can find them a new home.

In this video, volunteers working at the centers urge residents to open their hearts, homes and wallets to the cause of abandoned animals here, saying they will not be able to continue operating at this frantic pace.

Thoughts?