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Sunday, December 5, 2021

PAWS animal rescue to shut down shelter after ‘eviction notice’


PAWS Rescue Qatar has been working to protect animals in the Gulf state since 2014. 

An eviction notice has been sent to one of Qatar’s most prominent animal rescue organisations, forcing the shelter to shut down.

“On Sunday we received heartbreaking news that we have been given an eviction notice to leave our beloved shelter by the end of January 2022,” the organisation told Doha News on Tuesday. 

“Our highest priority is to get all of our 250 dogs and cats into either foster or forever homes. It is NOT an option for us to put them back on the street after everything they have endured,” the shelter explained in a post on Instagram.

With eight years under its belt, Paws Rescue Qatar has helped home thousands of stray cat and dogs across the country. The eviction notice gives the organisation a limited time to leave its current premises and puts more the 250 animals at risk.


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A post shared by Paws Rescue Qatar (@pawsrescueqatar)

“The reality is that we won’t be able to rehome all 250 dogs and cats in that space of time. If we can’t find sufficient fosters we will desperately be looking for shelter space,” it added, calling for urgent support from partner organisations.

“If any of our partners can support us please get in touch,” it added. 

For now, it is unable to respond to calls for help from community members wishing to help stray animals.   

Read also: Qatar’s stray animal problem: What can be done?

“As of today, we unfortunately have to announce that we will not be able to help any new animals. We will try and advise on any animal in need but we need to put all of our resources to rehome the current animals in our care. Please understand our position.”

Paws Rescue is a registered UK Charity and has established community rescue group that has successfully sheltered thousands of animals since it first opened its doors in Qatar in 2014. 

“We started very small with a few animals in vets and helping rehabilitate those, to then taking on a lot more responsibility and requiring more space for this,” Alison Caldwell, Co-Founder of Paws Rescue Qatar told Doha News. 

“In our time of being open we have rehabilitated and re-homed over 3000 animals for Qatar,” she added.

Alison said having a UK branch made the transportation of animals work “wonderfully”.  

“The community needs private rescue organisations that assist with the issues of homeless and injured animals in Qatar, and we now feel like backs are turned on us when Qatar has reached a desperate point with animal abuse and welfare cases,” she claimed.

“To see this all go to waste is a crying shame for us and the animals in our care and the ones we want to help in the future,” Caldwell said in a statement. 

Watch also: VIDEO: Qatar’s animal rescue centers struggling to keep up

The organisation is currently searching relentlessly for a convenient solution after the landlord informed them that they are “no longer able to stay and function as Paws Rescue Qatar on the land which is based in Al Kharrara.”

The organisation has been based in Al Wakrah for four years.

The landlord has been “gracious enough to allow us to operate there and has been very generous with this, however it seems now that our contract cannot be renewed because the land is farmland, and although privately owned by his family, the Department of Agricultural Affairs states that within the law of Qatar on use of agricultural land, we are in violation by keeping dogs and cats safe there,” Caldwell added in a statement to Doha News.

This came as a shock as the shelter is located “in the middle of nowhere – far out from Doha itself so we are no disturbance,” she said, urging for more time “to plan properly”, and find another place to settle in.  

Throughout its time in Qatar, PAWS has ensured “no animals were left behind, we have saved them all and they all deserve a loving home,” she said.

“Animal welfare is at an all time egregious level and then we get told after 8 years of fighting for animals here in Qatar, rehabilitating and rehoming over 3000 babies, that our precious purpose built facility is worth nothing and we have to leave.

“We just aren’t important enough. That’s how I feel,” she added.

For now, the organisation is in dire need for an alternative facility as well as funds to facilitate the transfer process.

“We want to continue to operate in whatever capacity we can,” Caldwell said, expressing concern and distress as the future of Paws Rescue in Qatar remains “bleak”.

“We also need fosters, adopters, contacts, doors to knock on, funds to send and rehome our babies and keep them all safe here and tonnes of publicity, so we can at least say we have tried,” she continued. 

“Running an animal rescue organisation in Qatar can be a hard and thankless task, we have been one of the rescue groups doing what they can to help animals in need, this news just paints a very bleak picture for the thousands of animals that still require help,” Caldwell noted.

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