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Dogs looking for friends

IBAN NL62INGB0004011891 BIC / SWIFT-Code: INGBNL2A ING Bank-Amsterdam. ActieZwerfhonden Zonnemaire The Netherlands

Bitlis 2010-2011-2013

Recently I wrote about the successful educational project in Bitlis. update 2013 scroll down

Bitlis is a small town in the south-eastern part of Turkey. It is quite isolated. The population consists mainly out of Kurds who are supporter of the Shafism religion. Safism is a movement within Islam that regards dogs as unclean. The local veterinarian in Bitlis is therefore not performing sterilizations on dogs. The doctor of the local Department of Agriculture would like to do it himself, but he is not capable.

At the invitation of the town, a team of SHKD, funded by StraydogsCampaign, will sterilize the stray dogs and the dogs at the local shelter of Bitlis, and train the motivated vet of the Department of Agriculture on the job.

The operating room of the shelter will be finished and prepared in September and will be officially opened with this wonderful project!

Local animal protectors will help to catch the dogs, do the pre- and aftercare.

The sterilizations in Bitlis will definitely become a success, the dogs are generally healthy and get food from volunteers who are supported by the municipality.

Are you also convinced that the sterilization of stray dogs is the only humane way to deal with stray dogs problem structurally, please sign up as a friend CNR (Catch Neuter and Return = capture, neuter, release) and make a donation. The funds that are received by the foundation with this mentioned at the transfer will be used for sterilizations in Turkey.

A sterilization costs 50 euro.

August 12.

Now that the date of the campaign draws near, all of the sudden, it appears not 100 but 200 dogs are in need of neutering. Of course this also means that twice the amount of money is needed.

Money that?s not (yet) available.

The costs of neutering (including vaccination, de-worming and treatment against flees and ticks) amounts to € 50,- per dog. For 202 dogs this sums up to a total of € 10.000,-. To reach this amount ActieZwerfhonden saved € 6.000,- so far. My colleagues and I hope so dearly that with your help the remaining € 4.000,- will still be within reach.

Help us to prevent the enormous animal suffering by making sure that hundreds of unwanted nests are not born to begin with. Hundreds of pups who barely have any chance of survival and usually come to their end in a terrible way and hundreds of pups who do “survive” only to cause more animal suffering by having new nests.

The campaign in Bitlis is very important for many more reasons and a guaranteed success and well for this:

Bitlis is a remote place, the nearest village is at a 25 km distance. The chance for additional unneutered dogs is relatively small and the problem will therefore be solved structurally.

A lot of people within this part of Turkey are followers of the Shafi, a movement within Islam.Followers of this movement regard dogs as unclean and therefore do not touch them. The community veterinar-ian is also a Shafi and refuses to neuter dogs.

A veterinarian from the Department of Agriculture understands the benefit of neutering stray animals and will be trained by the doctors of the SHKD. Most Turkish veterinarians deal with livestock and are not trained to neuter dogs and cats.

August 14.

On August 21st, the First vet will leave Istanbul for Bitlis to start the neutering of 202 dogs.The second vet will leave on the 24th.I do hope a lot of lovely donators will donate the missing €4000,-Its very important this campaign is successful!!

August 21.

Vet Necdet and Vet-technician Omer left for Bitlis this morning.

Thanks to a wonderful donation the neutering campaign can go ahead.

With your help we will gather more money to perform more neutering of straydogs and so prevent a lot of dogs from suffering.

August 25.

The sterilization campaign in Bitlis is going very well. So far 44 dogs have been sterilized.

The people of Bitlis are enthusiastic and helpful.

August 30.

We havereached a magical number of 171 sterilized dogs and today we will reach 202.

Right now there is a journalist of a Turkish newspaper with Necdet in Bitlis; it is really special that there is a large sterilization campaign of stray dogs in a Muslim Shafi city. StraydogsCampaign was able to achieve this with your support, and we can be proud of this for accomplishing this together.

But we can not sit back and relax, cause there is already a new challenge ahead of us, so we still need to find more supporters.

September 2nd.

Giant succes in Bitlis 204 dogs are neutered!


September a letter from Murat

In May 2010 when we went to Izmir for the Haytap conferance we met the people from the organistion “A Drop of Life”- Bir Damla Yasam- from Bitlis. In June, I went to Bitlis to give the education seminar to school children. During that visit, I saw that in the city there is a large number of animals that need to be castrated and that there is no veterinary in the whole city to do it. The one and only veterinary who worked for the municipality refused to touch dogs because of his religous belief Shafizm which is a sect of Islam. Since the organisation couldn’t find the funds necessary to employ a vet from elsewhere to castrate the animals, there was an uncontrolled increase in the number of stray dogs. When I told this to Linda Taal who is the director of Actiezwerfhonden, she said that her organisation can sponsor a neutering campaign in Bitlis.

This is how we put the first bricks of the neutering project in Bitlis. “Bir Damla Yasam” organisation first found out the number of dogs in the streets and the budget for the project was estimated accordingly. The budget included, the expenditures for operation, rabies and mixes vaccination of dogs, medicine for outer and inner parazites, tags for dogs, all materials needed for post operative medical care, expenditures for transportation, for the catching team, salaries of the vet and vet technician. We couldn’t have realized this project if Actiezwerfhonded didn’t accept to supponsor it all.

So, we set off for Bitlis on August 22 and arrived there on August 23 after a long journey which took a whole day. On the same day, we prepared the operation equipment for the operations that would start next day early in the morning. We went to bed early to be able to get up fresh for the marathon next day. We operated 35 dogs the first day. Because, Ms Damla and Mr Ufuk from “Bir Damla Yasam” were not expecting us to go so fast, they had only collected 35 dogs for a start. The following days, dogs were simultaneously caught and neutered. In the meanwhile, some inhabitants of the city also brought dogs for castration. This
way we completed the operation of 203 dogs until August 30. All the dogs were released in their territory after being neutered, vaccinated and tagged.

Bitlis was facing a real stray dog problem like all other cities of Turkey. I believe that with this project we achieved two important goals, one is the castration of dogs and the other which is more important is to raise awareness in the public about stray dog problem and its solution. Many people were interested in the purpose of the project. The subject was completely new for them. Nevertheless they accepted the neccessity of neuter and release without any objection. I believe that because of this public interest, the subject will not be forgotten for a long time. We also tried to raise awareness about dogs being living beings which need the protection of humans.

I want to express my gratitude first in all to ActieZwerfhonden for financing all the expenditures of the project, SHKD and “Bir Damla Yasam” for putting their energy to make it come true.


December 10th 2010

From conversations with dr. Damla Yasam it appears the pet dogs in Bitlis are constantly giving birth to new pups. The bitches from these litters are simply dumped in the streets. A new local vet is prepared to spay the dogs but is unable to perform the surgery at this time.

ActieZwerfhonden will see to it that one of ‘our’ vets will travel to Bitlis shortly to spay the dogs that need spaying and to train the new vet.

The ‘A Drop of Life’ folks will work hard to educate the locals about the need to spay and neuter the dogs and the reprehensible dumping of dogs.

The second round will cost 2500euro

February 17, 2011

The second sterilization campaign in Bitlis will be held in March.

The costs will be around 2.983 euro.

March 23, 2011

The new campaign in Bitlis has been postponed to May.

On May the 8th Necdet and Murat will start sterilizing the stray dogs.

After that, there will be a congress of the Turkish federation of animal welfare organization HAYTAP.

The board of ActieZwerfhonden has received an invitation to be present at this congress.

Dr. Damla wrote:

“No more than two years ago Bitlis was a city where animal rights were severely violated. Today, with thanks to the support of SHKD and Actiezwerfhonden, we have succeeded to establish an awareness on animal welfare as well in public consciousness as in the approach of the local authority.

Without your support, there would still not be any changes.

From May 13 to 15 the HAYTAP Yearly General Conference will be held in Bitlis. We would be more than honored if Linda and Robert can join us in this.

I hope they will not break our heart by being absent on these days.

With Love,

Damla Sahin

May 4th, 2011

On May the 6th para-veterinary vet Omer will leave for Bitlis, for arrival on May the 8th. He will drive there, as he has a lot of material to take along. The vet Necdet will fly to Bitlis on May the 8th.

They will start neutering on May the 9th, accompanied by two local vets.

They will concentrate on neutering male dogs for the first couple of days.

Murat will join the group on May the 12th and will train the vets on how to apply the so-called “key hole technique”. This way, they can take over the work once the medical tem of SHKD has left.

It looks as though the campaign can be funded for using the donation of Luis Vuiton, which means we can start fund-raising for the neutering campaign in June.

May 13, 2011

The men in Bitlis put in some hard work. By Wednesday evening they already neutered 89 dogs.

Thursday morning, at 7:30 hours, Murat got on a plane to join Necdet, Omer and the two vets in training.

May 15, 2011

Bilge Okay, member of the board of SHKD, visited the campaign in Bitlis and wrote:

I am back from Bitlis today where I joined with the last day of the neutering and also the Haytap annual conference held in Bitlis this year. I am not sure about the exact number of dogs neutered, but it is something around 147 I think. Damla- the volunteer in Bitlis- took note of the numbers and will give the sum total tomorrow-. Leaving the details and numbers about the neutering to tomorrow I want to give you a summary of my impressions about campaign in Eastern Turkey.

Eastern Turkey is completely a different cultural climate. It is a men’s world, with very few women seen on the streets, people are more religious than those in the Western part of the country-most of the women are covered-. There is a prejudice against dogs. One man we talked to said that dogs are regarded as dirty and not only touching them but a also a dog touching your dress or your
belongings is avoided.But still some people have animals in their gardens. For example the restaurant where we ate our dinner had two dogs in the garden, wondering freely- not tied to a chain as is usual in Istanbul. Because of the strong weather conditions in winter, there are not many street animals.

The Haytap team which came to the city from all around Turkey was welcomed very warmly by the local governor and mayor. There were Haytap posters in billboards all around the city. I believe that especially the Haytap posters which had religious messages about not being cruel to animals should be affective in the region. The mayor who made a speach at the conference said that it is not easy to allocate municipality budget to dogs in a city where the majority is Shafi and that he was criticized on the local press for this. But still he built a shelter and employed a vet for neutering and wants dogs that are neutered to be released back to their territory and not kept at the shelter.

May 20, 2011

As you probably know, the vet who was trained during the neutering campaign in Bitlis, has accepted a job elsewhere. The number of stray dogs soon increased again.

During the second campaign 173 dogs and 3 cats were neutered, vaccinated and treated against parasites. Because
many supplies were needed Omer went there by car, a drive of over 1600 km (that is over 18 hours). They worked for 5 days straight, sometimes even skipping lunch.

According to Murat, the fact that 173 dogs are facing a better future now makes all this work a little less hard.

Our gratitude goes out to Vier Pfoten and Luis Vuitton, who made this campaign possible.

Octobre 2011

A third campaign, financed by RSCPA, will be performed in Bitlis.

November 2011

Because of the instable situation in the region, the campaigned had to be postponed.

For pictures see our Dutch website

Things will be alright in Bitlis

One day every week veterinary technician Omer Atis (former employee SHKD) will travel to Bitlis to spay/neuter stray dogs together with a local vet who was trained by us during a campaign!