New Animal Care in Egypt shelter resembles mosque

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2008:
LUXOR–The most ambitious new
expatriate-directed animal welfare project
underway in Egypt appears to be the construction
of a headquarters for Animal Care in Egypt,
incorporated in Britain in September 1999 by
former International Fund for Animal Welfare
representative Julie Wartenburg.
The domed ACE building, behind a high
wall, from outside resembles a mosque.
Wartenburg had already acquired land and had
begun fundraising to build when ACE in April 2007
received a bequest of £80,900.
“The whole project is for the future as
well as now,” Wartenburg told ANIMAL PEOPLE.
“I knew I only had one hit at it, so when
receiving this heaven-sent legacy, I slightly
enlarged on the original size to provide
everything we may need in the future.”

Downstairs, says Wartenburg, “So far we
have a consulting/lab room, operating and post
op rooms, an office for the veterinarians, and
a small office for our accountant. Alongside
these rooms is a very large room which is for the
future purpose of housing small animals. In the
main our past work has been with large animals,
due to not having any facilities for small
animals in our previous place. Operations were
done on the office desk. It was not at all
suitable. In the future I hope we will do more
for small animals.”
The top floor is residential space “to be
used for visiting vets who will help train our
staff,” Wartenburg said. “Egyptian university
training is not up to western standards nor are
they taught anything for small animals. For the
future,” Wartenburg added, “it could be used
for office space.”
Outdoors within the compound are the
present dog and cat housing, a boarding kennel
built quickly just before Christmas 2007 to take
advantage of the seasonal revenue opportunity,
and extensive stables.
The new ACE clinic officially opened on
January 1, 2008, receiving 17 visitors with
their animals in the first three days. A quirk
of Wartenburg’s procedure is that visitors with
equines are asked to wash their animals, which
she believes helps to encourage bonding between
drivers and their horses or donkeys. On a more
practical level, the washing helps to control
parasites, and the chance to wash a horse or
donkey is not always easily found in a desert
ACE has been criticized for presenting an
excessively luxurious appearance, partly to
impress anticipated tourist traffic. The grounds
offer space for tour buses to park and turn
around. Wartenburg hopes visitors will become an
expanded donor base.
“I do not believe the local people will
resent any money that someone else has spent,”
Wartenburg asserts. “Quite the opposite, they
like to tell tourists that they take their animal
for treatment and washing to the best hospital.
The education centre is large, but I feel very
strongly that we have to concentrate on this
generation, and classes of 50 children each day
will come.
“I suppose the building does look as if I
have spent millions on it,” Wartenburg allows,
“but it is functional for the work we do,” and
the design is energy-efficient.
“We do not have a single air conditioning
unit in the whole building, up or down, despite
the 110-120 plus degrees heat in the summer
months,” Wartenburg explains. “The domes and
balcony upstairs provide cool rooms, which also
help the lower floor to keep cool.” The total
cost is expected to be about £130,000–a fraction
of the cost of building to similar specifications
in the U.S. or Europe.
More difficult to rationalize is a policy
against adopting out dogs to Muslim Egyptians,
because, Wartenburg told ANIMAL PEOPLE, many
erroneously believe that the Qur’an “states that
a dog should only be owned for the purpose of a
being guard dog and should not be allowed in the
house. Therefore the dog spends his or her
entire life tied up outside the house, usually
with wire or rope cutting into the neck. Hence
we offer dog collars and leads to prevent this
problem. We have homed to Coptic Christians who
do not keep their animals tied up, and
The newest expatriate-led animal welfare
project in Egypt, the Animal Welfare of Luxor,
takes an entirely different attitude toward doing
local adoptions. AWOL would rather adopt to
Egyptians than expatiates, the cofounders told
ANIMAL PEOPLE, because sometimes the ex-pats
return to England and abandon the animals they
have adopted.
AWOL was begun in 2007 by British
retirees Graham Warren and Pauline Warren, and
Dutch-born Sabine Borkes, four years after the
Warrens arrived in the Luxor suburb of El Marise,
on the far bank of the Nile from the main part of
Luxor, and began “helping a few animals by the
side of the road,” as their web site recalls.
Later all three cofounders volunteered for ACE.
As yet lacking a clinic or shelter, AWOL
focuses on teaching better care of animals from
the back of a truck. “Our aim is to break the
circle of ignorance,” the AWOL web site adds.
“Much has been done for animal care within the
tourist areas of Luxor, but there is much more
to Egypt and just a short distance from Luxor
nothing has changed. Currently we are doing what
we can in the villages, but we now urgently need
a centre to work from so that we can help many
more animals.”


Animal Care in Egypt c/o The Veterinary
Hospital, Maypole Road, East Grinstead, West
Sussex RH19 1HL, U.K; telephone 01732-700710;

Animal Welfare of Luxor c/o 9 Briavels
Court, Downs Hill Road, Epsom, Surrey KT19
8DS, United Kingdom; telephone 010 574 1071
(Luxor) or 01372-726702 (U.K.);
<>; <>.

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