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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Qatar struggles to house animals caught during trapping campaign

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Cat

The Ministry of Environment (MOE) has requested that a temporary, government-run animal shelter be built to accommodate strays caught during a months-long nationwide trapping program.

The campaign to remove thousands of stray cats and dogs from Qatar’s streets has hit a snag because currently, the government has no suitable shelter to house animals that cannot be neutered and released.

A more permanent structure – a large, 120-kennel shelter in Umm Salal – has been in the works since 2010. But officials at the Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS), who consulted with the government over the site’s design, estimate that it will not be finished for at least another 18 months.

Speaking to the Qatar Tribune, Dr. Youssery Radwan, expert and consultant at the MOE’s Animal Resources Department (ARD), said “the short-term accommodation will be managed by some parties or individuals who are working with us.”

Another potential reason Qatar is in need of a temporary shelter for these animals is because the fate of QAWS, the country’s largest animal shelter, is uncertain.

Speaking to Doha News, QAWS Committee member Kelly Allen urged expediency:

“We commend the government for any effort that is put forward to help control the stray animal population. We are strong advocates of their trap and release program for stray cats. But the government shelter was announced three years ago, and it’s still some time off completion.  Our concern is that we need an immediate solution.”

QAWS has told Doha News that about 10 to 2o stray animals are reported to them every day, but that it is currently only accepting animals on an “emergency basis.”

Last December, the shelter announced that its rental contract had run out, and had until May to find a new home. But now, its landlord, who is part of the ruling Al Thani family, has granted a six-month extension, provided that QAWS pays QR17,000 a month in rent (as opposed to QR10,000, which the group paid until they were hit with a penalty after May).

The shelter, which was founded in 2004, provides abandoned dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals with food, medical attention and regular care as they await permanent homes. It is supported solely by public donations.

‘Trap and return’

Many of the cats captured by the government are neutered and returned to where they were found, Radwan told the Tribune:

“Killing stray animals is not in our dictionary. We apply mercy death for stray animals in six cases according to international and religious standards. The animals that are neither to be released nor to be put to death will be sent to the shelter located in a place far from residential areas. We don’t release stray dogs after they are captured because they pose a health hazard to residents. “

Radwan did not say where stray dogs captured by the government are currently being kept.

The MOE said that its acts on 98 percent of requests for its “trap, neuter and return service” for cats, adding that it has relationships with many large complexes, including government offices and residential complexes like within the Pearl-Qatar.

Residents concerned about stay cats can contact the team by faxing 44653086 or calling 44560444, he added. 

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Steve Wilhelm

24 COMMENTS

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disqus_0pokg1GjBm
disqus_0pokg1GjBm
7 years ago

i really hope that the animals are treated humanely. I called the MOE team to trap some cats outside my building to be neutered. They took 8 and return 5 of which 3 weren’t from my building. I can’t say that I don’t feel responsible for the deaths of 5 cats. The team claimed that they were put down due to disease, which i feel was a lie as the sickest looking ones where the ones who were returned.

We all need to understand that these animals don’t belong here, the environment is very harsh and they are mainly descendants of imported cats that were brought to control the mice in Qatar. As such, it is our responsibility to be kind and humane to these creatures instead of regarding them as pests.

I cannot explain the anger that articles like this build in me, http://www.gulf-times.com/Mobile/Qatar/178/details/365015/Doha-faces-growing-stray-cat-problem.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago

I can just see the comments to come on this story; Give the Money to QAWS, etc.

disqus_0pokg1GjBm
disqus_0pokg1GjBm
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

can you think of an alternative?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago

For the cats, all healthy ones should be sterilized and put back on the street. The sick ones should be humanly put down. For the dogs, sterilize the healthy adoptable ones, and humanly put down the sick and unadoptable ones. House the adoptable dogs in one of the government farms, and request a group like Dogs in Doha to handle the adoption process 🙂

Ali
Ali
7 years ago

I love cats. On the top floor of our house in Pakistan there is an empty room where a stray cat has made “home” and it has delivered many kittens (at least 4 times) during the past 2 years or so. One day I was going to work and as usual I checked the under of my car to make sure there are no kittens and then I opened bonnet which I was doing as a daily exercise without fail to make sure there are no kittens inside because I always found 2 or 3 of them.

Anyway that day I found 2, 3 kittens inside bonnet which ran away so I started the car and went to work. A few minutes into the journey and I heard “meow, meow”. It was very faint and I thought it was coming from outside so I didn’t notice first but then it came again and then I knew it that a kitten is inside somewhere in bonnet. I stopped the car and opened the bonnet but didn’t see anything.

Then I went some further and stopped car at a gas station and there some guys told me that they have heard “meow, meow” coming from my car. I opened bonnet again and bingo….there it was….a kitten sitting at the bottom…..I tried to pull him out but there was no way I could reach him. I was like “hush….hush” so that he might ran away but he was stubborn. I had no choice but to drive like that but I was feeling for that poor guy because there is too much heat inside the bonnet.

Finally I reached work and I checked it again and it was there sitting. As usual I tried to catch him but no luck so I let him there thinking that after a couple of hours he will come a little above so I might be able to catch it. But I was afraid he may leave the car as he was very far away from home.

In the evening when I opened bonnet I saw him sitting at another location in bonnet and it was easy to catch it so I grabbed him and took inside back seat of car. Then I went him and reunited it with his mother. I hope the kitten won’t forget and won’t do that mistake again.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Ali

It would be a good idea to get the mother cat spayed so she won’t have anymore kittens.

Ali
Ali
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Pakistan is pretty backwards in terms of animal shelter and protection. I don’t even know where to get it spayed. Besides that mother might be long gone now.

People either adopt these kittens in Pakistan or they just roam around streets along with dogs.

We also adopted such kitten and named him “Simba” who remained with us for like 7, 8 years until he died. We buried him next to our home.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Ali

A good vet should be able to do it.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago

“Many of the cats captured by the government are neutered and returned to where they were found,” Funny how when this story first broke and was posted on QAWS Facebook page, there were about a 100 comments, most of which were racist ones about Qataris. All because QAWS made it sound like all the animals will be killed. And people wonder why there is not much support for QAWS among Qataris!

Kelly Allen
Kelly Allen
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

The TNR program (which returns animals to the streets) has been up and running for years. This is not breaking news and QAWS fully supports the TNR program as it is a great idea used worldwide. The trapping scheme announced recently is completely different – this new scheme is simply to trap and rehome/euthanize any animal on the street. As they have no rehoming facilities, what do you think will happen to the animals…. Why do you have such a chip on your shoulder against QAWS and anything to do with expats?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Allen

Dear Ms. Allen; the work QAWS does for the welfare of animals in Qatar is certainly exemplary and admirable. However, in my humble opinion, the issue of racist comments made about locals both here and on QAWS FB page needs to be addressed. It was in fact a young local, who’s active with in the local animal rescue scene in Qatar, who brought up this issue to my attention.

In fact, I do not have a chip on my shoulder as you put it; I think most locals reading the kind of comments I was referring to would react the same way.

I believe that QAWS’s operation can be greatly enhanced and expanded if more local animal lovers were not put off by the negativity direct it toward them. I think their should be a policy against general negative statements about groups of people, and that such comments should be deleted.

I shall deleted my post above, because if I am asking people to be less negative, I should start with myself. Have a good day ma’am, and apologies for any stress I may have caused you.

Kelly Allen
Kelly Allen
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Comments made on posts (such as these) do not reflect the opinion of the poster (ie. DohaNews or QAWS). You can’t claim QAWS is racist because of comments made by people who are nothing to do with QAWS!!

Grantley
Grantley
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

So even the stray cat issue results in racist comments? How ridiculous. All Qatar needs is resources to control the stray cat population – that means multiple TNR teams / regular vaccinations programmes / animal shelters. In the big scheme of things – i.e. building stadia & railways & more hotels – the cost is a drop in the ocean compared to the benefit to the country. Why is that so difficult to achieve in the richest country in the world? I think that’s what animal lovers find so frustrating, Abdulrahman.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

Why don’t they just operate an extermination programme, it is not as if these cats are an endangered species or even native to Qatar.

If it’s ugly rats or cockroaches no one gives a damn about them but just because they are ‘fluffy’ suddenty something has to be done.

I’ll support housing them when there is equality for all stray animals in Qatar.

Guest8
Guest8
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Extermination won’t work because people are constantly throwing cats and dogs out on the street to fend for themselves and reproduce. Female cats can have up to 25 kittens per year (male cats can obviously father far more). What is needed to curb an overpopulation is aggressive spay, neuter and release. That coupled with aggressive education about the necessity and benefits for these procedures if people decide to keep pets.

Cockroaches and rats are different animals and are known to carry disease. They have a bad reputation; it’s not about how cute they are or aren’t. Neither of the species you mention rely on humans like domesticated animals. It all boils down to people viewing these creatures as disposable to begin with. That’s the root of the problem.

Grantley
Grantley
7 years ago
Reply to  Guest8

Totally agree re extermination, Guest 8. We had a feral colony at work which some cowards decided to solve by putting out fish laced with poison over a weekend when no-one was around. It took some of the cats three days to die in sheer agony. Problem solved? Erm no. Within three months we had an even larger colony. Fortunately, our employer worked with us cat lovers to carry out a TNR programme and we now have a neutered / spayed, vaccinated and healthy colony which wards off intruders and keeps down vermin. This is my point. TNR is crucial in solving this issue. We need to get the breeding under control first and the rest will follow. Believe me, it is not impossible to achieve this if we work together with some assistance from the appropriate ministry.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Actually, MIMH, about 10 years ago when the stray cat population finally became a problem, the idea of exterminating them was 1st suggested by Baladya. However, the Ministry of religious affairs (awqaf) stepped in and stopped that becasue there’s a hadith in which the prophet (SAW) said to take care of the cats (including strays) just as if they were our neighbors. Cats have a somewhat special status in Islam.

Even dogs, often considered unclean by many Muslims, are mentioned in a story where a man wandering the desert found well, climbed down a long way to drink some water. When he climbed up, he found a thirsty stray dog. He climbed down the well and put water in his shoe, climbed up, and offered the water to the dog. In some accounts he did that a few more times until the dogs thirst was satisfied. For this act of kindness, he shall be rewarded with heaven.

The difference between cats and dogs and the animals you mentioned isn’t just about appearance, but also intelligence. Also keep in mind that both animals are domesticated forms of wild animals (The wild African cat and the wolf) and aren’t really capable of surviving away from human habitat, especially dogs.

Last but not least, these animals didn’t choose to come to Qatar, but were brought here by people who either sold them, or threw them out when they got bored with them.

For cats at least, the stray ones should be sterilized and put back where they were found. A shelter should be built for the dogs where they are also the ones that are adoptable are also sterilized, and put up for adoption. We also need to have strict laws for importing cats and dogs into the country as well as for breeding them.

Amber
Amber
7 years ago

My only concern with trying to decrease the cat population is that rats will come back. Qatar use to have a huge rat problem in the 80s before they imported cats to take care of the problem.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Amber

And already the rats are coming back in fact. Thank God we have a small cat colony in our house (about 10-13) as some of them are quite skilled at hunting mice and baby rats. And yes, I make sure the cats are sterilized 🙂

BillyBob
BillyBob
7 years ago

My neighborhood has a lot stray cats. I hate them, especially when I get my car cleaned and next day I see a cat chillaxing on the roof of my car with the ‘B**** please” look on it’s face, and my car’s hood filled with it’s little dirty tiny paw prints.
My sister on the other hand can’t stop feeding them and giving them food whenver they sneak into my house’s yard, it’s so annoying. They just keep coming back. They’re not even scared of me! 🙁

But I can never be cruel to animals, as much as these stray cats piss me off. Terminating them is not the answer. Catching them, and humanely housing them in an animal shelter is. And making sure that the animal shelter is always under the radar, and run by those who love animals, from head all the way down to who catches the cats and takes them to the animal shelter. Can never trust people who look after animals who work in such places in Qatar, or Arab countries to be more general. Im arab so no need for the hate comments that I can see because of the last comment. I know it’s true, you know it’s true.

And a major problem is also how the garbage dumpsters are. Always filled with garbage, and even more garbage surrounding it and chunks of majboos and fish on the floor, making a perfect habitat for these stray cats. People are nasty I swear.

Qatar should set out something to fix these two problems. Stray cats, and hygienic/efficient garbage dispose methods. ASAP before I lose my mind every time I park my car when I get home.

Guest8
Guest8
7 years ago
Reply to  BillyBob

Cat paw prints on car windows = 1st world problem

Bert Da Expert
Bert Da Expert
7 years ago

KITTEH NEEDZ HOME

greg
greg
7 years ago

more stray cats, less rats…

ChaTo
7 years ago

Trap-neuter-return (TNR) is the way to go, I’m glad to hear this policy is applied here. We should not kill stray cats, but reduce their population in a compassionate and sustainable manner. Education is also very important!

TNR is also a very effective method: in scientific studies cat colonies where TNR was applied were reduced by 1/3 in 2 years, while colonies where cats where not sterilized grew by 50% in the same period. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trap-neuter-return

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