home - thanks and good bye Veterinaries in the near region: For working group contact :

 

Hasan Ulas Gökduman,
Gökova  0533 475 27 71

Göksel Bayramlı,
Gökova 0252 246 6629

Yasemin Ilseven  
Anita Dehniger     
(For German)
  
      
  

0531 491 8935
243 4099

GAS-Der Straydogs Workgroup

   


WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO .. .


Visitors to Akyaka often ask what happens in winter to the many street/beach dogs in the village be assured that there are a number of concerned residents who watch over their welfare (Thats US!) after the restaurants close and the damp winter sets in. We are strong supporters of the Neuter & Release programme run by Fethiye Friends of Animals Association which has not only the support of several European Animal Associations but is increasingly supported here in Turkey. Of even more significance is the new Animal Protection Law (legislation # 5199) that has been passed through Parliament and is being implemented, albeit slowly, throughout the country.

Stray dogs and cats are a real problem in Turkey and in holiday resorts, like Akyaka there are additional factors. Where there are so many visitors, pensions and restaurants open in summer months, our village becomes a place where unwanted animals are 'dumped'.

Sometimes visitors from the big cities think that here somewhere dogs will get food and at the end of family holiday there is no return home for the pet ... at other times of the year, folk from surrounding villages bring half a dozen or more dogs and just leave them - this latter group can play havoc with our village chickens. In the past the local councils' traditional method was to put down poison whenever the complaints grew loud. Poisoning is now against the law but another cruel method has been used several times this year - the dogs are rounded up and dumped in remote parts of the forest. Individuals (such as an annoyed neighbour) have also taken dogs and in one case the dog was left 18 kms away in a remote village. But there was a happy ending to this the dog came back (we know not how!) in 3 days and was then hidden by us until a proper owner was found! All this causes anger and anguish and a lot of chasing around, checking up etc by true animal lovers. Foreign tourists are also shocked at such tales.

Until recently FHDD visited us for 2, 3 days twice a year and our small group of local animal lovers would collect the dogs early in the day and bring them to the mobile clinic parked outside the Council buildings where they were then sterilised, vaccinated against rabies, 'wormed' and finally ear-tagged for our records These clinics, which started in October 2001, and whose visits were fully supported by our Council have brought changes in local attitudes of the villagers and their children who previously were often fearful of stray dogs. During these busy visits, passing school children would be fascinated by the sight of 'sleeping dogs' laid out on rugs, tethered dogs awaiting the operation and helpers tending the recovering patients! We had several children coming to help and learn at first hand that 'neuter and release' is far better than poisoning! Sometimes we’ve been able to arrange for local people to 'adopt' a street dog and there are even a few kennels outside houses on the street which give shelter from the sun in summer and rain in winter! People are far more willing to feed the dogs now in winter months and are learning not to see them as a threat. In summer months our street dogs lead a wonderful life as the foreign tourists are their best friends and spoil them with 'treats' and titbits. Sometimes you will even see a dog lying on a beach bed with the tourist perched on the end!

Unfortunately this summer some of the local vets thought that the mobile clinics were taking away work that should be theirs and have managed to stop FHDD from coming . This has been a huge blow to us because few people would pay out high fees for sterilising a street dog or cat that lived near them Some local vets fortunately will operate at much reduced fees but special arrangements have to be made and someone has to transport them.

For the past year we have had our Mayors permission to run a second-hand stall in the weekly market and although this is quite a new concept in rural areas - hand-me-downs usually stay within the families and excess clothing is not the norm - we are attracting customers and foreign residents have been very generous in donating goods to us. Of course it is a good meeting place to talk to visitors about our work. We are not a charity, but we do welcome any donations in the form of dog food and parasite tablets as proceeds from the stall are spent on supplementary food in winter, vitamins, worm tablets, vet bills for accident cases. But our main expenditure is for petrol and our petrol in Turkey is even more expensive than in Europe! We have always made regular trips to Fethiye (180 kms round trip) to take bitches for sterilising or young puppies hoping for new homes (FHDD is well known for its animal shelter and locals now know where to find a dog needing an owner).
AND WHAT OF THE FUTURE?

We plan to try to persuade our own Council (Belediye) that street and beach dogs well cared for by local people is far better than having an old-style animal pound where dogs and bitches are crowded together living miserably in some out-of-the-way part of the town where it takes courage for animal lovers to even step inside!


Marmaris dogpound run by its Municipality!
What we need is an organised centre where stray dogs and cats can be collected, sterilised, vaccinated, wormed, and rehabilitated and then returned to the street from where they came. Only aggressive, very old or sick animals should be held in the shelter. We also need the council to support a local vet to make necessary operations which would save so much money that at present we have to spend on petrol. Such a centre with sterilisation facilities is exactly what the new Animal Protection law asks from ALL Municipalities so we must work hard to persuade our Belediye to implement this!These two objectives are very much in line with FHDDs plan for the future Turkey is a huge country and there are so many places where animal welfare is low on the list of priorities so it is important that in areas where local support is waiting for the green ight, we let FHDD concentrate on pioneering work. Do take time to look on their website and read the amazing newsletters which are compiled monthly. (http:/www.straydogsturkey.org )

FINALLY WHAT CAN YOU DO?


Many of Akyaka tourists come back year after year and follow the fortunes of their canine friends. Some even arrange to take their favourite back to Europe and several dogs now live in Germany or Holland. So .. we would like to present to YOU some of our most lovable strays whom we know would make SOMEONE somewhere a loyal friend. Do read their stories and if you decide you can help make one of them happy in a new secure and loving home, please download the .pdf file which tells you more about the movement of pets within EU countries and learn about the necessary documentation and injections etc. And if you decide for one, we would like to help you for the necessary documentation of whichever lucky dog you choose. There are also some centres in Turkey where these arrangements can be made for dogs travelling to new homes in mainland Europe.