Volunteers seeking municipal support for animal shelter

Volunteers seeking municipal support for animal shelter

Tuba Parlak ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Volunteers seeking municipal support for animal shelter

Volunteers claim that the shelter was not a legally established place and call for municipality to establish a new and safer shelter for stary animals.

A handful of volunteers who are going out of their way to provide care and nourishment for stray animals left at the city landfill in the Marmara Ereğlisi district in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ are asking for municipal aid.

There is a currently a facility functioning like an animal shelter situated across the highway from where the landfill is located. However, shelter volunteer Ebru Elgöç said it was not a legally established animal shelter.

“The landfill is next to the Çorlu-Seyman highway,” Elgöç said. “The establishment is not in good condition; it is a U-shaped facility, the doors are open and there are no fences. As it is right across the landfill, stray dogs attempting to cross the highway get hit by vehicles all the time.”

The land the establishment is on was registered as a meadow under the administration of Provincial Environment Directorate, she said. “Therefore, the municipality cannot claim the facility as its shelter. It is not attempting to establish a rehabilitation center complying with legal requirements, nor does it have a policy for stray animals. All it does is collect the stray dogs of the district and leave them here.”
Elgöç said she learned about the so-called shelter about a year ago. “The only volunteer at that time was Sevin Asma. She was living close to the shelter and was suffering from cancer. We talked with the municipality officials many times, yet none of these meetings were successful,” she said. “All the mayor says is ‘I will find another place. I will build a shelter,’ but he does not do anything. The deputy mayor says they do not have funds. ”

Volunteers not a legal body

Elgöç has six friends who volunteer their time at the Marmara-Ereğli shelter: Eda Barın, Barbaros Barın, Fatma Enver, Ayfer Kartal, Erdem Erbudak and Öznur Çakır. All of them are Istanbul-based and visit the shelter every weekend. “We cannot collect donations because we are not a legal charity body. All we do is collect animal food donations,” they said. “We are paying for the medical treatment of the animals with our own funds, including neutering operations. We are also trying to find homes for them. We are taking them food, blankets, cardboard boxes and more every weekend.”

According to data provide by Elgöç, the volunteers have a monthly expense of 1,000 Turkish Liras for medical treatment of the stray animals. They spend an additional 2,000 liras on food, medicine and travel to and from the shelter. “We need at least 80 packages of animal food every month,” she said.

The volunteers are only able to visit the shelter on weekends, but the animals are not left alone during the week. The landfill is frequented by junk collectors, one of whom takes care of the animals during the week. He lets the volunteers know when the animals are sick or if there is an emergency. He also distributes food and takes care of their daily needs.

Elgöç said they had very solid demands for the municipality. “We want them to allocate a large area for the animals and to build an animal shelter that is respectful to the animals’ need to be in nature. We do not want them to be caged in concrete cells. We want to have a resident vet at the shelter and workers to take care of the cleaning and maintenance. We also want to be granted our right to have a say and for them to cooperate with us.”