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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 January 2019

Fujairah’s white knights for injured stray animals

An animal welfare group that started on social media wants ‘comprehensive’ vet presence established in Fujairah.
Maria Novik of Fujairah Animal Rescue, which has opened a Facebook group to rescue and care for wounded strays. She is pictured with Tigra, a cat the group rescued. Lee Hoagland / The National
Maria Novik of Fujairah Animal Rescue, which has opened a Facebook group to rescue and care for wounded strays. She is pictured with Tigra, a cat the group rescued. Lee Hoagland / The National

FUJAIRAH // Six animal enthusiasts have launched a Facebook group devoted to the rescue and care of abused and neglected strays.

The group, Fujairah Animal Rescue, was formed after a severely injured donkey that needed immediate veterinary help was found.

“The idea started when we found a little donkey suffering from a deep cut between his neck and right leg, and it needed to see a vet immediately,” said Maria Novik, one of the page leaders.

“I called some friends and managed to gather about Dh2,500 to cover his transport fees to a vet clinic in Dubai.

“When we arrived the clinic requested Dh5,000 for surgery fees. After sharing the situation on social media, we had an anonymous offer to clear all his medical bills and, even more important, adopt him in a wonderful and suitable place.”

Ms Novik, 28, from Belarus, said that there was only one veterinarian in Fujairah, who owns a private clinic and deals only with domestic pets.

“There is a huge number of stray animals in Fujairah and the area is in deep need for a comprehensive veterinary clinic that would offer all kinds of treatments in order to alleviate animal suffering,” she said.

About 200 volunteers have joined Fujairah Animal Rescue since it formed in November last year,

They aim to help, feed and shelter abused stray animals and control breeding, with the support of the Middle East Animal Foundation and public donations.

“Every volunteer in our group has a role to play,” Ms Novik said. “We have benefactors, feeders, trappers, caregivers and people who just inform us about desperate animal in need of rescue.”

Kirsteen Carruthers, 44, another group leader, has been living in Fujairah for four years.

“We are in the process of setting up a fully authorised trap, neuter and release programme in Fujairah, as well as providing feeding and water stations throughout Fujairah City and setting up an educational programme to raise awareness about animal rights, health and welfare in preparation for Expo 2020,” she said.

Mrs Carruthers, from England, has rescued two stray dogs, two cats and seven chickens in the past two years. They are all living under her care at her villa.

Many residents have welcomed the idea of helping and controlling stray animals, especially dogs, in the region.

Although most of the dogs are harmless, some attacks still occur.

Ryanne Montaril a Filipina in Fujairah, said she had escaped several dog attacks during her stay in the Sakamkam area.

“I like animals but I think some of them don’t share the same feeling towards me,” Ms Montaril said.

“Most of the dogs that live here are friendly but others tried to attack me several times while I was passing in the street.

“I believe that dogs can be quite aggressive if they were abused and this can easily happen here.

“Therefore I totally support any kind of help to rescue these poor creatures.”

Khaled Mulaih, an Emirati, said that five dogs had recently attacked his car while he was driving near Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah City, scaring his children and wife.

“More than a week ago I was driving along Mohammad bin Matar Street and five dogs suddenly attacked my car,” said Mr Mulaih, 34. “I had to slow down in order not to hurt them, and my wife and kids started screaming.

“Thank God the road was clear of cars and we managed to go through without causing any damage or accidents.

“Having a specialised unit to take care and shelter these dogs is considered a community demand, and the Government should start thinking of solutions to protect animals and residents.”

rhaza@thenational.ae

Updated: February 28, 2015 04:00 AM

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