Turkey lacks humane fundraising tradition

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2002:

ISTANBUL, Turkey–“Although Perihan Agnelli is only
scratching at the surface of the stray dog problem on the south
coast, she is doing a very good job of self-promotion and of winning
governmental endorsement. She is showing a lot of initiative and
business sense in soliciting donations,” British garment
manufacturer Robert Smith wrote in a September 17 e-mail to the
Society for the Protection of Stray Animals (SHKD), whose Natural
Dog Shelter at the sprawling Kemerburgaz Rubbish Dump Project outside
Istanbul he has sponsored for nearly three years.


“So far, SHKD has concentrated on getting a practical job
done, and I have paid all the costs from my own pocket. Now I am
running out of money,” Smith advised. “It is time for you to think
of ways to raise serious money.”
The demographics of Istanbul indicate that the city is rich
enough and big enough to support humane services as adequately as any
in the Mediterranean region.
But soliciting funds, ANIMAL PEOPLE was told, is equated in
Turkey with street-begging, not with obtaining voluntary support for
community institutions. Few people are even willing to ask for help
for animals. Those who do ask tend to rely on descriptions of
misery–like F. Sunay Birsen, 56, who in 1994 founded the Nature and
Animal Lovers Association shelter in Kutahya. She reportedly now
keeps 800 dogs and 116 cats, mostly brought by local dogcatchers,
in facilities built for just 100 dogs.
“Our shelter is located on the bank of a small creek. After
a heavy snowfall last winter,” Birsen wrote to ANIMAL PEOPLE
recently, “we were hit with a sudden flood that destroyed our food
supplies.”
Twenty-three young dogs starved to death, according to
newspaper clippings that Birsen enclosed. Food waste from a nearby
air force base saved the rest–just barely.
“We are still trying to bring things back to normal,” Birsen
said. “We urgently need food, parasite treatments, rabies
vaccinations, and antibiotics. We also need a veterinarian to desex
the animals.”
Only in Fethiye does animal protection in Turkey seem to have
reached the point of success building on success, encouraging donors
to contribute as an investment in community improvement rather than
as occasional baksheesh to assuage the conscience.

SHKD (Society for the Protection of Stray Animals), Cengiz
Topel Mah. Ferhat Sok., Bozbey Apt. #2/2, Etiler, Istanbul,
Turkey; telephone 90-212-2657-732; fax 90-212-2656-629;
<shkda@superonline.com>.

Doga ve Hayvan Sevenler Dernegi (Nature and Animal Lovers
Association), Ataturk Bulvari Guven Evler, H Blok D3 Zemin Kat
Bilano, Kutahya, Turkey; telephone 90-274-2165-737; fax
274-2320-823.

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