Several animals living in shelters run by municipalities across Turkey have died during the 10-day-long public holiday, private broadcaster NTV reported on Sept. 4.
The Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) holiday had been extended to 10 days in Turkey, longer than the usual duration after it coincided with the Aug. 30 Victory Day.
But the decision allowed public employees working in animal shelters to go on holiday for a long period of time, leaving a large number of animals abandoned and struggling to survive amid hunger and thirst.
An animal rights organization, HAYKONFED asked its members to inspect animal shelters across Turkey during the holiday.
HAYKONFED members said most of the animal shelters were closed, adding that they only managed to enter the shelters by jumping over the fences.
They determined that animals at shelters in the Black Sea
province of Kastamonu’s Tosya district, the Central Anatolian province of Tokat’s Turhal district and the Marmara province of Yalova had been left to their fate.
HAYKONFED deputy head Şebnem Aslan said the shelters’ staff left animals without food and water during the holiday.
“The staff locked the animals in there. They put food and water that would last only for a few days and left after that. When they returned after 10 days they saw the animals had died. They hastily collect them and destroy them,” she said.
Aslan also stressed that mayors who violated animal rights should face legal sanctions.
“Your mayors are not only obliged to give service to people, they are also obliged to protect the rights of animals and provide wellbeing to them. Please give the necessary penalties to mayors who have violated such a right,” she added.
Aslan said her organization will file complaints with courts against animal shelters run by municipalities over the death of animals.