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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Ministry of Environment revives plans for Qatar animal rescue shelter

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

With many private animal rescue shelters in Qatar stretched to capacity, a new government facility initially scheduled to open north of Doha this December now appears to be several years away.

Last month, the Ministry of Environment and Ashghal issued a tender for a firm to provide consulting services, including pre-design work as well as to oversee the construction tendering and contract award.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Few details were published, apart from an expectation that the contractor would complete the work within 827 days of being awarded the job, likely pushing the project into 2018.

Past reports said construction of the facility, which is to be located in Umm Salal north of Duhail, was to begin in January 2014 and wrap up by the end of this year.

However, an animal welfare volunteer told Doha News that it was her understanding that the project was still in the planning stages.

The initial vision for the facility was to build some 120 kennels over 3,000 sqm of land.

Ministry of Environment officials were not immediately available to provide more details on the tender.

Currently, animal rescue services are largely decentralized and led by several volunteer-run organizations that have struggled at times to handle the influx of stray and abandoned animals brought to their premises, as well as pay for food, vaccinations and other operations.

Charitable status

While authorities in Qatar appear to moving ahead with construction of a new shelter, many other governments around the world opt to support privately run non-profit animal welfare centers rather than operate their own facilities, according to Janet Berry, the co-founder of the Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS).

For illustrative purposes only.
For illustrative purposes only.

She said the money being allocated to construct the new shelter could go a long way towards supporting and stabilizing the country’s five existing facilities.

“We have a volunteer base, we have the facilities and the know-how,” she said.

Other organizations, such as Paws Rescue Qatar (PAWS), say they’ve offered
to run a government-funded pound where rescued animals could be held until they are adopted or relocated, but that authorities have so far been unresponsive to the idea.

In addition to financial support, Derry said the government could help organizations such as QAWS by granting them charitable status so that they can more easily solicit donations.

“We do what we do, and love what we do. It could just be that much easier if we could sit down with the authorities. We want to help them as much as we would like some help,” she said, adding that even though QAWS is “treading water” it still has a positive working relationship with the government.

Derry said QAWS is currently caring for some 160 dogs, 100 cats and a handful of farm animals. The 13-year-old organization has a waiting list of other animals waiting to be dropped off.

Thoughts?

20 COMMENTS

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Katie
6 years ago

This kind of thing really bugs me.

I always say, it’s like opposite world “Why keep it simple, when we can go about it an arduous and overcomplex way?”

QAWS deserves charity status.

Katie

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

826 days to design & build a shelter. Is this a joke? Basic, simple, single storey, could be off site construction taking almost 3 years. Ashgal has designed and built 12 schools in that time for over 5000 students; 12 Stadia are to be designed and built in three times that period accommodating hundreds of thousands of people.
Give the funding to the Voluntary sector to manage and run their facilities with decent accommodation, with funding to support medical care and food currently paid out of donations and gifts. The overwhelmed shelters are the tip of the iceberg- there are also hundreds if not thousands of volunteers who house rescues, foster from shelters and do it all from their own pocket. Perhaps a more accurate scoping of the problem of abandoned and abused animals in Qatar needs to be carried out, to provide a well thought through initiative to deal with the problem, not merely the symptoms.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

If you do it properly, how can some of the money be siphoned off……..

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

In the meantime; how about reviving the TNR program that had good success in the past? Seriously, it would be the most economically effective way to reduce the problem of stray cats and dogs. Qatar is small desert country, so these animals really cannot survive away from human habitat. Catching them all should take no more than a year.

Then it’s a matter of controlling animals that enter the country, and especially those being sold at pet shops.

I know, I know, it’s too much to ask 🙁

Grantley
Grantley
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

TNR IS the answer. There are many of us who do it ourselves to control the stray populations around where we live but it needs to be done on a much wider scale. There are companies from Europe who will come and do it (they ran a very successful TNR programme in Bahrain). It wouldn’t take much to organise this but we need government backing in order for it to succeed and it needs to be ongoing.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

We already have a good TNR team. All that’s needed is just a bit more funding and maybe hiring a few more people. Just think about it; in the three years it would take to build this shelter, an effectively run TNR program will reduce the problem so much that the focus of the shelter will be on abandoned animals. Oh how I wish 🙂

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

XX billion riyals for the VVVIP mall in Al Markheya, 1 billion dollars for the film on the prophet, 6 million riyals for the chemical restaurant, and nothing for QAWS and other organizations that are doing an amazing job for everyone and for the country as a whole? At least give them the charity status and let them raise funds.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

“XX billion riyals for the VVVIP mall in Al Markheya” By private investors, and I doubt it’s even 1 billion. “1 billion dollars for the film on the prophet”, never heard of this, especially; but I assume it’s meant for a worthy cause. the billion part”6 million riyals for the chemical restaurant” Also private investors.

I see no problem with granting these organizations charitable status assuming that’ll help. However, they’re already raising funds and hosting events without that, so, not sure why that’s being brought up as the reason for them needing charitable status.

Now, as to just give government money to QAWS, well, that’s another story. Let’s just that some of QAWS “supporters”, and possibly members, have at various times expressed very negative and hostile views about Qatar and Qataris. Suffice it to say, they don’t seem to have many friends within the local community; it seems even government officials they’ve dealt with don’t have favorable opinions of them.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

@qatari75:disqus, the mall will cost clearly several billion riyals, and with the cost of things here, I do not think there is any mall in Qatar that costs less than a billion. The film was reported 3 days ago here on DohaNews. It will cost 1 billion dollars not riyals.

I am fully aware that this is private money, but my point was to say that there seems to be an abundance of money for futile projects, but when it comes to the excellent and very useful work that QAWS and others are doing it, there seems to be a shortage of funding, and these associations are left begging and imploring people and the government for help. It might not be the government’s fault, but it is important to note that QAWS and similar associations are filling a gap left by the government, as it is clearly its duty to have facilities (along with a proper strategy) for stray and dumped animals.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

” the mall will cost clearly several billion riyals, and with the cost of things here” so, you’re just guessing?

“I am fully aware that this is private money,” then you should know that what people do with their personal money is their business and not yours!

“my point was to say that there seems to be an abundance of money for futile projects,” Well, the mall/s are an investment that generate profit; again, what others do with their money is their business and no one else’s. By the way, it’s the same in just about every other country where you have fancy shops, restaurants, museums, etc, and you also have many stray animals and not enough shelters, not to mention all the homeless people.

I suggest that you start reading on the animal welfare situation in places like the U.S. and U.K.. You’ll be surprised to find that little to no government funding is provided there for organisations like QAWS. There, the municipal shelters keep cats and dogs for a few days before “mercy killing” them!

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Also, I do not get the last point. Are you saying that because some people are very critical of Qatar, locals and the government are reluctant to help them? there is a bit of confusion here because the help is meant for animals not people, regardless of what people (be it QAWS employees or QAWS supporters) think of Qatar 🙂

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

No Yacine, I’m telling you that when you have a post with some 100+ comments all attacking Qatar and Qataris, going as far as someone saying that all Qataris should be shot, well, it’s kind of hard to see why my government should give any money to such a group.

Kelly Allen
Kelly Allen
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

I beg to differ on your last point. You can’t punish QAWS because of some negative comments made by random strangers who have happened to “like” a facebook page when there’s no control over people’s opinions. In fact, QAWS members are some of the first to say that the stray animal problem is not limited to Qatar – EVERY country has problems with stray and abandoned animals and there is far LESS animal abuse here compared to some other countries.

Granted, QAWS has mainly an expat based support group, but there are more and more locals visiting, volunteering and adopting rescue animals these days. Qatar Cat Club (which is a Qatari run cat group) volunteered at QAWS recently and hundreds of local children volunteer every year through various schools and universities.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Allen

Kelly; I love the work QAWS does, and I wish you the best.

However, from time to time, a random post about, say, a dog being shot or a cat being poisoned quickly turns into a bash fest of Qatar and Qataris. While this isn’t QAWS’s fault, it’s hard for me and others not notice how QAWS’s members quickly respond if the negative comments is about them or people closely related to them. Meanwhile, someone going as far as to say that Qataris should be killed gets nothing but likes.

Grantley
Grantley
6 years ago

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Mahatma Gandhi

qatari
qatari
6 years ago

a better idea , keep track of pets owners record, you enter Qatar with one . you should be leaving with one . a lot of those stray ones are left behind by their A-**** owners .

Jen
Jen
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Yes, that,s true-but a lot are also abused or neglected by locals or people living here long time. What abt those who drag dogs behind their cars for fun-or ride them down. (If what we read is true). If a human, no matter their nationality, cannot have compassion for a living creature that feels pain same as humans then there is something wrong with them. It is our responsibility to look after other living creatures-from pets to ensuring habitat remains for wild life.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

This is part of the solution to stray animals, but you are right. I think a ban on expats bringing their pets from abroad, coupled with a tracking system for those animals used as pets here will likely help solve the issue. When you bring your animal here you must be illegally obliged to take him with you when you leave. In case the animal dies, you have to inform Baladiya and get a document to show to immigration when you leave, or else you pay a fine.

Kelly Allen
Kelly Allen
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Banning expats from bringing their pets with them won’t help in the slightest – they’re the ones most likely to take them with them again when they leave. The registration process is already in place with the Government but there’s no follow up and no enforcement of it.

Grantley
Grantley
6 years ago

That is true. There are also so many people who ‘adopt’ an animal here
and then dump it when they leave. I just cannot get my head around
that. If you take an animal off the streets and into your home, you
have a responsibility towards it. It quickly loses its ability to
survive on the streets so you are effectively killing it when you throw
it back out. I have 11 cats in my house – all strays taken from the
streets. Yes, it is a lot of work and cost but it is my way of ‘giving
back’ for the lovely life I have here. I appreciate it is not
everyone’s idea of a charitable deed but each to their own.

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