Ethiopians fight on against dog shooting

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2005:

I am writing to you on behalf of the Homeless Animals
Protection Society of Ethiopia. I can not stress enough how bad is
the situation in the struggle against the influence of the Ethiopian
Wolf Conservation Program at Bale Mountains National Park, where
Efrem Legese and Hana Kifle put their own jobs and families on the
line for the sake of animals. Such actions are rare, especially
here in Ethiopia, where losing your job can mean starvation for your
Efrem had to send his children to relatives and take them out
of school because he could not provide for them. Hana’s family has
been hurt, too. Their families do not understand why Efrem and Hana
would risk their jobs for the sake of stray dogs. Even so, Efrem
and Hana are trying to keep HAPS together and showing more courage,
determination and integrity then anyone else I know in this field.
They have continued to defend animals here in Addis Ababa. They have
won governmental consent for implementing an Animal Birth Control
program, and have increased membership in HAPS to almost 90 people.
They feel that the quarrel with the EWCP is now chasing them
in the form of baseless and vicious rumors that hurt HAPS’ good name
and delay its progress. This is not only a disaster for HAPS, but
for the abandoned animals of Ethiopia.
Please help us fight evil rumors in favor of people who really care.

–Einat Cohen
Homeless Animals
Protection Society
P.O. Box 14069
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Editor’s note:

Efrem Legese was formerly the Bale Mount-ains National Park
acting head of finance and administration. Kifle, the first female
to hold a senior post at the park, was head of development and
The Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program, sponsored by the
Born Free Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund, began sterilizing
and vaccinating pets and working dogs near Bale in 1999. Legese and
Kifle helped. In March 2001 Legese sent ANIMAL PEOPLE extensive
information about local homeless dogs. He argued that sterilization
and vaccination should be extended to the homeless dogs.
ANIMAL PEOPLE publisher Kim Bartlett helped Legese and Kifle
to form HAPS, helped them to obtain start-up funding, and arranged
for them to obtain training at the Dogs Trust in London, the 2002
International Companion Animal Welfare Conference, and the All
Africa Humane Education Summit in September 2003.
In July 2003 the EWCP quit sterilizing and vaccinating dogs
at Bale, and–after HAPS opposition blocked an EWCP request for
permission to shoot homeless dogs–claimed that there were no
homeless dogs in the region. In five years, said the EWCP annual
reports, it had vaccinated 1,475 dogs total. In October 2003,
however, the EWCP would claim to have vaccinated from 2,000 to 2,500
dogs per year.
Kifle in August 2003 photographed an Ethiopian wolf with an
apparent bite wound to her head, 25 miles from known wolf habitat
and acting strangely. Believing the wolf to be rabid, Kifle
reported the incident to superiors.
Kifle and Legese in late September 2003 expressed concern to
ANIMAL PEOPLE that nothing was being done to halt a rabies outbreak
which appeared among dogs and livestock several weeks later. The
EWCP and Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Organization did not
acknowledge the outbreak until mid-October 2003. As well as
introducing oral vaccination of the wolves, they recommended
shooting homeless dogs.
ANIMAL PEOPLE in November 2003 published Kifle’s photo of the
suspected rabid wolf, plus one of a series of photos obtained by
Legese of officials shooting at dogs as they fled into the park
interior– toward the wolves.
Continuing to advocate sterilizing and vaccinating homeless
dogs, Legese and Kifle were fired on false allegations in early
2004. The allegations were rejected by courts in both Addis Ababa
and the Bale region. Legese and Kifle were reinstated, but were
then transferred to remote regions and left the park service to keep
HAPS alive.
Upon learning from Cohen of their economic plight, ANIMAL
PEOPLE guaranteed HAPS the funding to pay Kifle and Legese wages in
2005 equal to their former salaries at Bale Mountains National Park.
With the help of our donors, we hope to secure their future ability
to feed their families and educate their children while further
building the first organization in Ethiopia to work on behalf of all

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