First animal shelters open in Iraq and Iran

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2005:

TEHRAN, BAGHDAD–If humane societies are imagined as a chain
of beacons, illuminating their surroundings and spreading the word,
two new points of light just ignited.
“We recently opened the first Iranian shelter for dogs in
Kooshkezar, and the first for cats in Karadj. Both cities are
suburbs of Tehran,” wrote Center for Animal Lovers founder Fatemeh
Motamedi, “After my husband Sirous provided us with land, the
efforts of dedicated volunteers have made possible building the
shelters,” which actually are to function mostly as out-patient
hospitals for street dogs and feral cats.
The Center for Animal Lovers’ plan is “to provide care for
sick and injured cats and dogs, and also take in strays, sterilize
them, give them a health check, then release them to safe public
areas,” Motamedi wrote. “Unfortunately adoption programs are
not socially popular enough yet,” for adoption promotion to be part
of the regular routine.
“At this point,” Motamedi continued, “our team consists of
two Iranian veterinarians and 18 volunteers, most of whom are
university students.”

The Iraqi Society for Animal Welfare formed in mid-2003,
shortly after the fall of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Among the cofounders was veterinarian Farah Murrani, who helped care
for the animals at the Baghdad Zoo after nearby fighting stopped in
May 2003.
Now doing an internship at the Chyenne Mountain Zoo in
Colorado Springs, Colorado, Murrani told ANIMAL PEOPLE that ISAW
activities so far have included providing care to homeless dogs and
cats at Al-Zawra Park in Baghdad and opposing the use of poison for
animal control.
Working with the Humane Centre for Animal Welfare in Jordan
and Military Mascots, founded by Bonnie Buckley in Merrimac,
Massachusetts, ISAW has also helped U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq
to send about 40 adopted pets home via Jordan and/or Kuwait, Murrani
U.S. Army veterinarians have been helping to train the Iraqi
staff in small-incision, high-speed dog and cat sterilization, so
that ISAW can assist local neuter/return work.
Future efforts, Murrani pledged, will include public
education about proper care of pets, working animals, and
livestock; organizing vaccination clinics to combat rabies,
leishmaniasis, and screwworm; pursuing the passage of animal
welfare laws; and protecting endangered species.
A feeding program for 13 Iraq Interior Ministry police dogs
also recently started with U.S. humane community help. The impetus
came when U.S. Army Reserve Captain Gabriella Cook, of Henderson,
Nevada, now stationed in Iraq, on December 28, 2004 e-mailed to
the Las Vegas Review Journal and other people in the Las Vegas area
that “The dogs are starving and urgently need dry dog food. Some
have already died,” Cook said. “Half are sick. We have no way of
buying actual dog food here.”
Las Vegas sports handicapper Wayne Allen Root donated $5,000
to help the dogs via the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society, whose
president, Judith Ruiz, began seeking a way to fly pallets of dog
food to Iraq.
Staff of Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada), and Representative
Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada) meanwhile announced on January 7, 2005
that Hill’s Pet Nutrition of Topeka, Kansas, “has arranged for a
continuous complimentary supply of its Science Diet product to be
made available” to feed the dogs, wrote Keith Rogers of the
Root then asked the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society to use
his donation to help Las Vegas-area dogs and cats, Ruiz told Rogers.

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