Wim De Kok to head new U.S. Vier Pfoten office
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2011:
VIENNA–-Helmut Dungler, chief executive of the Austrian-headquartered international animal welfare charity Vier Pfoten (Four Paws), on September 26, 2011 announced that Vier Pfoten is soon to open a U.S. office in Boston, under Wim De Kok. De Kok in 1982 cofounded the Dutch antifur society Bont Voor Dieren (Fur is for Animals) as the Anti-Bont Comite. It took the present name in 1988.
Relocating to Boston to work for the World Society for the Protection of Animals, De Kok founded and directed a global campaign to halt dancing bear acts and place dancing bears in sanctuaries. Vier Pfoten, the Australian charity Free The Bears, and the Indian charity Wildlife SOS, among others, now operate bear sanctuaries whose organizational impetus came in part from De Kok’s campaign under WSPA auspices. WSPA continues to operate a sanctuary for bears rescued from use in bear-baiting spectacles in Pakistan. The first WSPA Pakistan sanctuary flooded in 2010, killing 20 bears. Three survivors are now housed at a new location.
De Kok, after leaving WSPA, cofounded World Animal Net, a online global directory of animal charities and animal help agencies, based in part on the ANIMAL PEOPLE institutional mailing list. World Animal Net also does research and training in support of international animal charities.
Vier Pfoten, founded by Dungler and three friends in 1988, now has more than 220 employees at offices and other facilities in Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Rom-ania, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Among the largest Vier Pfoten programs are mobile dog-and-cat sterilization clinics working in many of the former Communist nations of eastern Europe; the Belitza bear sanctuary in Bulgaria, opened in 2006; and the Lionsrock big cat sanctuary in South Africa, opened in 2007.
Another Vier Pfoten cofounder, Egyptian veterinarian Amir Khalil, in early September 2011 led the first international relief mission to the Tripoli Zoo after the fall of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Khalil made a follow-up visit in early October.