Wednesday, August 09, 2006



Thousands of pets left starving in North as owners dodge the rockets
By Eli Ashkenazi

More than 8,000 dogs and cats have been abandoned in the north by owners who have fled south. These include street cats who lost their food supply.

"Numerous abandoned dogs are roaming the streets in the Galilee, and many cats have been left with no food or water," says veterinarian Gil Shavit of Yesod Hama'ala.

"People who went to stay with families in the center were perhaps embarrassed to show up with two kids and a dog. But there are other solutions. Dogs can be put in a pound or someone could be found to look after them," he says.

"There is no excuse to abandon a dog. This is a very sensitive creature that is adversely affected by being deserted," he says.

A few days ago Gaya Goldberg received an e-mail saying "a pregnant bitch was abandoned in Rosh Pina, can you help her?"

Goldberg went there immediately. She arrived at a completely deserted villa neighborhood. "Then I saw the dog. She was starved with a swollen belly and her skin stuck to her bones. She was wearing a collar and had obviously been deserted by her owners."

She took the animal to veterinarian Miki Cahansios, who realized in seconds that it was a male dog whose belly had swollen due to starvation. The dog was taken to Dr. Yoni Peres, who operates the 24-Hour Emergency Veterinary Center in Hakfar Hayarok.

"In another day or two he would have died," says Goldberg, who adopted the dog after it was treated.

Goldberg describes the animals' conditions in the north as catastrophic. "Thousands of dogs have been abandoned. The cats have lost their food supply and simply die. The dogs are helpless, they can't even jump onto the garbage containers. We try to collect them and bring them to dog pounds, but the pounds are full."

"The dogs are suffering no less than the people, the state should set up a pound for them," she says.

The dog pound in Kibbutz Gesher Haziv in the Western Galilee is run by Motti Sudai and his wife Ziona, among the few members who remain in the kibbutz. "We couldn't leave because of the dogs," Sudai says.

Many northern residents brought their pets to Sudai's pound before leaving, or asked him to pick their pet up from their home.

"In the last few days rockets have been raining on us and we don't have a shelter nearby. We asked the regional council for a mobile security room but they laughed at us," he says.

A rocket landed recently 50 meters from the dog pound, "but we must stay with the dogs and calm them down," he says.

"Abandoning your dog is a disgusting thing to do," says Sudai. "Some people kicked their dog out as soon as the first rocket landed and went to Tel Aviv. But many others brought their dogs here and are inquiring about their health."

Dogs and cats injured from rocket shrapnel or impact have been brought to Shavit's clinic. Some refuse to eat and drink and cringe trembling under a chair or table. They are suffering from anxiety, he says.

photos found at: The Angry Arab News Service

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