Turkish animal rescue hosts 700 mostly disabled dogs
Ramadan is the right time to start empathizing with stray animals, according to the founders of a natural living environment hosting hundreds of dogs here in the Turkish capital.
Patiliköy currently hosts 700 dogs that are not self-sufficient and most are physically disabled or psychologically traumatized.
“Our primary goal is rescuing the animals which have been the victim of an accident or exposed to violence; as well as providing them with a beautiful natural habitat, and instilling people with love for animals,” Kapan said.
Noting the coronavirus pandemic negatively affected the budget and visitors, he said: “Our visitors used to come here very often, especially university students. Because this is a social project, we instill a love for animals. But with the pandemic, the number of our visitors has declined.”
“We had visitors even from the United States,” he said. “They told us that they had never seen such a place built for stray animals and that Patiliköy sets an example for the whole world. Unfortunately, instead of promoting and introducing such places to the world, people ignore them.”
“A person who has a pet certainly knows the costs, the expenses. And we take the dogs especially with health problems, which means higher expenses. That is, the number of volunteers and the support we receive from them is not enough. Still, we do our best,” he added.
Koç said that Patilikoy is a nursing home with an acknowledged legal title. “We would appreciate it if the government could support us,” he said. “We host over 600 lives here, and many of them have disabilities. Indeed, we ease the duty of the government, voluntarily and lovingly. Yet certainly, we would be grateful if they could support us with basic needs such as food, firing, or repairing work.”
Kapan went on to say that affording veterinary and health care services, food, and heating in winter were the most significant challenges they faced. “To reduce the population of stray dogs, we need support, especially with the sterilization of dogs,” he said.
Koç said sterilization of stray animals was an issue that local municipalities must support.
“Many municipalities gather stray dogs and leave them on the mountains. But unless you are a wild animal, no one can find food on a mountain. Therefore, living in the cities is their most natural right.”
“The society should get used and learn to live with them,” Koç said. Koç said animal shelters are merely prison camps for animals, not a living environment. “No living being must be locked up among walls unless it committed a crime.”
Marking that streets became natural environments for animals after humans built cities, he said stray animals must be treated, sterilized, and returned to their neighborhood in 21 days, as envisaged by the law on animal protection.
“Instead of chasing stray animals away, throwing rocks at them, people can leave a bowl of water and food leftovers for them on the streets; this will change animals’ perception of humans, too,” said Kapan.
With the upcoming Ramadan month in mind, when people fast to empathize with those devoid of food and water, he said: “People can hardly endure the thirst and hunger especially in hot days and cold weather, yet most street animals are always hungry, always thirsty. We must see the month of Ramadan as the most effective, perfect time to try to understand stray animals.”
“Every single dog here has a different story; some had traffic accidents, some had a disease, some abused, exposed to violence. We take those who cannot support themselves from the streets to here, treat them, heal them, rehabilitate them. Once they recover, we try to find a family, a home for them,” said Kapan.
Pointing to an exorable German Rottweiler, Kapan said: “Pasha was found with marks of a strong blow on the head.
Both of his eyes had gone blind. Animals like him cannot survive on the streets; they can be hit by cars or hurt by other dogs. That is why we need more places like this.”
He added that they expect governments worldwide to encourage, promote and support the establishment of foundations like Patiliköy.